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The Measures first adopted for educating the Natives. 
The Establishment of the Committee of Public In- 
struction. Their first Plan of Operations. The 
Difference of Opinion which arose. The Resolution 
of Government of the 7th March 1835. The Mea- 
sures adopted by the Committee in consequence. No 
Distinction of Caste allowed in the new Seminaries. 
Cultivation of the Vernacular Languages. Education 
of the Wards of Government The Medical College. 
Mr. Adam's Deputation. - Page 1 


The Stu$y of Foreign Languages and Literature a 
powerful Instrument of National Improvement. The 
Instruction of the Upper and Middle Classes the first 
Object. - .... 36 



The violent Opposition made by Oriental Scholars to the 
Resolution of the 7th March 1835. The whole Ques- 
tion rests upon Two Points ; first, Whether English or 
Arabic and Sanskrit Literature is best calculated for the 
Improvement of the People of India? and, secondly, 
Whether, supposing English Literature to be best 
adapted for that Purpose, the Natives are willing to 
cultivate it ? These Points considered. - Page 50 


Objections answered. Construction of the Charter Act 
of 1813. Change in the Employment of the public 
Endowments for the Encouragement of Learning. 
Abolition of Stipends, Probability of the Natives 
being able to prosecute the Study of English with 
effect. The alleged Necessity of cultivating Arabic 
and Sanskrit for the sake of improving the Vernacular 
Languages. The Plan of employing Maulavees and 
Pundits as our Agents for the Propagation of Eu- 
ropean Science. Whether or not it is our Duty to 
patronise the same Kind of Learning as our Prede- 
cessors, - - - 95 


Proofs that the Time has arrived for taking up the Ques- 
tion of National Education. The Disuse of the Per- 
sian Language, The many important bearings of this 


Change. The Codification of the Mahommedan and 
Hindu Law. The increased Employment of the 
Natives. The Concurrence of all Classes of the Com- 
munity towards the Object. - Page 143 


The Establishment of a Seminary at each Zillah Station, a 
necessary ' Preliminary to further Operations. The 
Preparation of Books in the Vernacular Languages. 
A Law of Copyright required. Native Education in 
the Madras and Bombay Presidencies. The Establish- 
ment of a comprehensive System of public Instruction 
for the whole of British India urgently required, 
The public Importance of a separate Provision being 
made for the Prosecution of Researches into ancient 
Asiatic Literature. - - - 170 


The Political Tendency of the different Systems of 
Education in Use in India, - - 187 


Extract from the Report of the Committee appointed by 
the Indian Government to inquire into the State of 
Medical Education. - - - Page 207 




The Measures fast adopted for educating the Natives. 
The Establishment of the Committee of Public In- 
struction. Their fast Plan of Operations, The 
Difference of Opinion which arose. The Resolution 
of Government of the 1th March 1835 The Mea- 
sures adopted by the Committee in consequence. 
No Distinction of Caste allowed in the new Senti- 
naries. Cultivation of the vernacular Languages* 
Education of the Wards of Government The 
Medical College. Mr. Adams Deputation. 

1 HE history of the first efforts made by us for the 
education of our Indian fellow-subjects may be 
told in a few words. The Mohammedan college 
at Calcutta was established A.D. 1781, and the 
Sanskrit college at Benares A.D. 1792. The 


course of study at these institutions was purely 
oriental, and the object of it was to provide a 
regular supply of qualified Hindu and Moham- 
medan law office's for the judicial administration. 
The next step taken was at the renewal of the 
Company's charter in 1813, when 10,OOG/., or a lac 
of rupees a year, was set apart "for the revival and 
promotion of literature, and the encouragement of 
the learned natives of India, and for the intro- 
duction and promotion of a knowledge of the 
sciences among the inhabitants of the British ter- 
ritories." The subject was however regarded at 
that time in India with so much apathy, that no 
measures were adopted to fulfil the intentions of 
the British legislature till 1823. On the 17th of 
July in that year the governor general in council 
resolved, that " there should be constituted a gene- 
ral committee of public instruction for the purpose 
of ascertaining the state of public education, and of 
the public institutions designed for its promotion, 
and of considering, and from time to time sub- 
mitting to government, the suggestion of such 
measures as it may appear expedient to adopt with 
a view to the better instruction of the people, to 
the introduction among them of useful knowledge, 
and to the improvement of their moral character." 
Corresponding instructions were addressed to the 


gentlemen who were to compose the committee*, 
and the arrears of the annual lac of rupees were 
accounted for to them from the 1st May 1821. 
From this period the general committee of public 
instruction must be regarded as the sole organ of 
the government in every thing that concerns that 
important branch of its functions. 

The first measures of the new committee were 
to complete the organization of a Sanskrit col- 
lege, then lately established by the government at 
Calcutta, in lieu of two similar institutions, the 
formation of which had been previously contem- 
plated at Nuddea and Tirhoot ; to take under their 
patronage and greatly to improve the Hindu 
college at Calcutta, which had been founded as 
far back as 1816, by the voluntary contributions 
of the natives themselves, for the instruction of 
their youth in English literature and science ; to 
found two entirely new colleges at Delhi and Agra 
for the cultivation of oriental- literature ; to com- 
mence the printing of Sanskrit and Arabic books 

* In the instructions addressed to the committee, the object of 
their appointment was stated to be the " considering and from time 
to time submitting to government the suggestion of such measures 
as it may appear expedient to adopt with a view to the better 
instruction of the people, to the introduction of useful knowledge, 
including the sciences and arts of Europe, and to the improvement 
of their moral character." 

B 2 


on a great scale, besides liberally encouraging 
such undertakings by others ; and to employ an 
accomplished oriental scholar in translating Eu- 
ropean scientific works into Arabic, upon which 
undertaking large sums were subsequently ex- 
pended. English classes were afterwards estab- 
lished in connection with the Mohammedan and 
Sanskrit college at Calcutta, the Sanskrit college 
at Benares, and the Agra college ; and a separate 
institution was founded at Delhi in 1829 for the 
cultivation of western learning, in compliance with 
the urgent solicitation of the authorities at that 

The principles which guided the proceedings of 
the committee throughout this period are explained 
in the following extract from their printed report, 
dated in December 1831 : 

" The introduction of useful knowledge is the 
great object which they have proposed as the end 
of the measures adopted or recommended by them, 
keeping in view the necessity of consulting the 
feelings and conciliating the confidence of those 
for whose advantage their measures are designed. 

" The committee has therefore continued to en- 
courage the acquirement of the native literature 
oi both Mohammedans and Hindus, in the insti- 
tutions which they found established for these 


purposes, as the Madressaof Calcutta and Sanskrit 
college of Benares. They have also endeavoured 
to promote the activity of similar establishments, 
of which local considerations dictated the forma- 
tion, as the Sanskrit college of Calcutta and the 
colleges of Agra and Delhi, as it is to such alone, 
even in the present day, that the influential and 
learned classes, those who are by birthright or 
profession teachers and expounders of literature, 
law, and religion, maulavis and pundits, willingly 

" In the absence of their natural patrons, the 
rich and powerful of their own creeds, the com- 
mittee have felt it incumbent upon them to con- 
tribute to the support of the learned classes of 
India by literary endowments, which provide/not 
only directly for a certain number, but indirectly 
for many more, who derive from collegiate ac- 
quirements consideration and subsistence amongst 
their countrymen. As far also as Mohammedan 
and Hindu law are concerned, an avenue is thus 
opened for them to public employment, and the 
state is provided with a supply of able servants 
and valuable subjects ; for there is no doubt that, 
imperfect as oriental learning may be in many 
respects, yet the higher the degree of the attain- 
ments even in it possessed by any native, the more 
B 3 


intelligent and liberal he will prove, and the better 
qualified to appreciate the acts and designs of the 

" But whilst every reasonable encouragement 
is given to indigenous native education, no oppor- 
tunity has been omitted by the committee of im- 
proving its quality and adding to its value, In 
all the colleges the superintendence is European, 
and this circumstance is of itself an evidence and 
a cause of very important amelioration. In the 
Madressa of Calcutta and Hindu college of 
Benares, institutions of earlier days, European 
superintendence was for many years strenuously 
and successfully resisted. This opposition has 
long ceased. The consequences are a systematic 
course of study, diligent and regular habits, and 
an impartial appreciation of merits, which no insti- 
tution left to native superintendence alone has 
ever been known to maintain. 

" The plan of study adopted in the colleges is 
in general an improvement upon the native mode, 
and is intended to convey a well-founded know- 
ledge of the languages studied, with a wider range 
of acquirement than is common, and to effect this 
in the least possible time. Agreeably to the native 
mode of instruction, for instance, a Hindu or Mo- 
hammedan lawyer devotes the best years of his 


life to the acquirement of law alone, and is very 
imperfectly acquainted with the language which 
treats of the subject of his studies. In the Ma- 
dressa and Sanskrit college the first part of the 
course is now calculated to form a really good 
Arabic and Sanskrit scholar, and a competent know- 
ledge of law is then acquired with comparative 
facility and contemporaneously with other branches 
of Hindu or Mohammedan learning. 

" Again, the improvements effected have not 
been limited to a reformation in the course and 
scope of native study, but, whenever opportunity 
has favoured, new and better instruction has been 
grafted upon the original plan. Thus in the 
Madressa, Euclid has been long studied and with 
considerable advantage: European anatomy has 
also been introduced. In the Sanskrit college of 
Calcutta, European anatomy and medicine have 
nearly supplanted the native systems. At Agra 
and at Delhi the elements of geography and 
astronomy and mathematics are also part of the 
college course. To the Madressa, the Sanskrit 
college of Calcutta, and the Agra college, also, 
English classes are attached, whilst at Delhi and 
Benares distinct schools have been formed for the 
dissemination of the English language. Without 
offering therefore any violence to native prejudices, 
B 4 


and whilst giving liberal encouragement to purely 
native education, the principle of connecting it 
with the introduction of real knowledge has never 
been lost sight of, and the foundation has been 
laid of great and beneficial change in the minds 
of those who by their character and profession 
direct and influence the intellect of Hindustan. 

" In addition to the measures adopted for the 
diffusion of English in the provinces 3 and which 
are yet only in their infancy, the encouragement 
of the Vidyalaya, or Hindu college of Calcutta, 
has always been one of the chief objects of the 
committee's attention. The consequence has sur- 
passed expectation. A command of the English 
language and a familiarity with its literature and 
science have been acquired to an extent rarely 
equalled by any schools in Europe. A taste for 
English has been widely disseminated, and inde- 
pendent schools, conducted by young men reared 
in the Vidyalaya, are springing up in every direc- 
tion. The moral effect has been equally remark-' 
able, and an impatience of the restrictions of 
Hinduism and a disregard of its ceremonies are 
openly avowed by many young men of respectable 
birth and talents, and entertained by many more 
who outwardly conform to -the practices of their 
countrymen. Another generation will probably 


witness a very material alteration in the notions 
and feelings 'of the educated classes of the Hindu 
community of Calcutta." 

Meanwhile the progress of events was leading 
to the necessity of adopting a more decided course. 
The taste for English became more and more 
" widely disseminated." A loud call arose for the 
means of instruction in it, and the subject was 
pressed on the committee from various quarters. 
English books only were in any demand: up- 
wards of thirty-one thousand English books were 
sold by the school-book society in the course 
of two years, while the education committee 
did not dispose of Arabic and Sanskrit volumes 
enough in three years to pay the expense of 
keeping them for two months * 3 to say nothing 
of the printing expenses. Among other signs ot 
the times, a petition was presented to the com- 
mittee by a number of young men who had been 
brought up at the Sanskrit college, pathetically 
representing that, notwithstanding the long and 

* The committee's book depository cost 638 rupees a month, or 
about 765Z. 12s. a year, of which 300?. a year was the salary of the 
European superintendent. The sum realized by the sale of the 
books during the three last years of the establishment was less than 
100Z. On the change of the committee's operations the whole of 
this expense was saved, some of the books being transferred to the 
Asiatic Society, and the rest placed under the charge of the secre- 
tary to the committee. 

B 5 


elaborate course of study which they had gone 
through, they had little prospect of bettering their 
condition; that the indifference with which they 
were generally regarded by their countrymen left 
them no hope of assistance from them, and that they 
therefore trusted that the government, which had 
made them what they were, would not abandon 
them to destitution and neglect. The English, 
classes which had been tacked on to this and other 
oriental colleges had entirely failed in their object. 
The boys had not time to go through an English, 
in addition to an oriental course,, and the study 
which was secondary was naturally neglected 
The translations into Arabic, also, appeared to 
have made as little impression upon tin* lew who 
knew that language, as upon the mass of the people 
who were entirely unacquainted with it. 

Under these circumstances a difference of opi- 
nion arose in the committee. One section of it 
was for following out the existing system, for 
continuing the Arabic translations*., the profuse 

* After all thai had been expended ou this object, thm i -a ill 
remained 6,500Z. assigned for the completion of Arnhie trnmlntUms 
of only six books ; viz, 3,200?. for five medical works* awl :j,:UX)/. 
for the untranslated part of Hutton's mathematics, * with MHIH'. 
thing extra for -diagrams." These ruinous expenses absorbed nil 
our disposable funds, and starved the only useful branch of mir 
operations, which was also the only one for which there was ;my 
teal demand. 


patronage of Arabic and Sanskrit works, afc^ggj. 
printing operations; by all which means fresh 
masses would have been added to an already un- 
saleable and useless hoard. An edition of Avicenna 
was also projected, at an expense of -2 5 OOOZ. ; and 
as it was found that, after hiring students to attend 
the Arabic college, and having translations made 
for their use at an expense of thirty- two shillings a 
page, neither students nor teachers could under- 
stand them, it was proposed to employ the trans- 
lator as the interpreter of his own writings, at a 
further expense of 300 rupees a month. The 
other section of the committee wished to dispense 
with this cumbrous and expensive machinery for 
teaching English science through the medium of 
the Arabic language; to give no bounties, in the 
shape of stipends to students, for the encourage- 
ment of any particular kind of learning ; to pur- 
chase or print only such Arabic and Sanskrit 
books as might actually be required for the use of 
the different colleges; and to, employ that portion 
of their annual income which would by these 
means be set free, in the establishment of new 
seminaries for giving instruction in English and 
the vernacular languages, at the places where such 
institutions were most in demand. 

This fundamental difference of opinion long 
B 6 


obstructed the business of the committee. Almost 
every thing which came before them was more or 
less involved in it. The two parties were so 
equally balanced as to be unable to make a for- 
ward movement in any direction. A particular 
point might occasionally be decided by an acci- 
dental majority of one or two, but as the decision 
was likely to be reversed the next time the sub- 
ject came under consideration, this only added in- 
consistency to inefficiency. This state of things 
lasted for about three years, until both parties 
became convinced that the usefulness and respec- 
tability of their body would be utterly compro- 
mised by its longer continuance. The committee 
had come to a dead stop, and the government 
alone could set it in motion again, by giving a 
preponderance to one or the other of the two 
opposite sections. The members, therefore, took 
the only course which remained open to them, and 
laid before the government a statement of their 
existing position, and of the grounds of the con- 
flicting opinions held by them. 

The question was now fairly brought to issue, 
and the government was forced to make its elec- 
tion between two opposite principles. So much, 
perhaps, never depended upon the determination 
of any government. Happily there was then at 


the head of affairs one of the few who pursue the 
welfare of the public independently of every per- 
sonal consideration : happily also he was sup- 
ported by one who, after having embellished the 
literature of Europe, came to its aid when it was 
trembling in the scale with the literature of Asia. 
The decision which was come to is worthy of ever- 
lasting record. Although homely in its words, it 
will be mighty in its effects long after we are 
mouldering in the dust* It was as follows : 

" Resolution of Government, dated 1th March 1835. 

" The governor general of India in council has 
attentively considered the two letters from the se- 
cretary to the committee, dated the 21st and 22d 
January last, and the papers referred to in them. 

2d. His lordship in council is of opinion that 
the great object of the British government ought 
to be the promotion of European literature and 
science amongst the natives of India, and that all 
the funds appropriated for the purposes of edu- 
cation would be best employed on English educa- 
tion alone. 

3d. But it is not the intention of his lord- 
ship in council to abolish any college or school of 
native learning, while the native population shall 
appear to be inclined to avail themselves of the 


advantages which it affords ; and his lordship in 
council directs that all the existing professors and 
students at all the institutions under the superin- 
tendence of the committee shall continue to re- 
ceive their stipends. But his lordship in council 
decidedly objects to the practice which has hitherto 
prevailed, of supporting the students during the 
period of their education. He conceives that the 
only effect of such a system can be to give artifi- 
cial encouragement to branches of learning which, 
in the natural course of things, would be super- 
seded by more useful studies ; and he directs that 
no stipend shall be given to any student who may 
hereafter enter at any of these institutions, and 
that when any professor of oriental learning shall 
vacate his situation, the committee shall report to 
the government the number and state of the class, 
in order that the government may be able to decide 
upon the expediency of appointing a successor. 

4th. It has come to the knowledge of the 
governor general in council that a large sum has 
been expended by the committee in the printing 
of oriental works. His lordship in council directs 
that no portion of the funds shall hereafter be so 

" 5th. His lordship in council directs, that all 
the funds which these reforms will leave at the 


disposal of the committee be henceforth employed 
in imparting to the native population a knowledge 
of English literature and science, through the 
medium of the English language ; and his lord- 
ship in council requests the committee to submit 
to government with all expedition a plan for the 
accomplishment of this purpose. 
^ (A true copy.) 
" (Signed) H. T. PRINSEP, 

" Secy to Government." 

This decision was followed by a series of cor- 
responding measures. The former president of 
the committee, seeing the turn affairs were taking, 
had handsomely offered to resign in favor of any 
one whose views were more in accordance with 
the prevailing opinions, continuing however to 
render very valuable assistance as a member of 
the committee.* Mr. Macaulay had been appointed 
to the vacant post Two of the members most 
warmly attached to the oriental side of the ques- 
tion now gave in their resignation, and several 
new members were appointed, whose views coin- 

* Intelligence has lately reached England of the death of 
Mr. Henry Shakespear, the gentleman alluded to ; and I feel a 
melancholy pleasure in recording a circumstance so remarkably 
illustrating the spirit of equity and of quiet unobtrusive public 
feeling which breathed through all his actions. India did not 
contain a more amiable or excellent man. 


cided with those of the government The natives 
also were now for the first time admitted to take 
a share in the deliberations on the subject of 
national instruction. This was done by conferring 
on the managers of the Hindu college the pri- 
vilege of electing two of their number in rotation 
as members of the committee, and a Mohammedan 
gentleman was soon after appointed a member of it 
Six new seminaries were immediately established 
with a portion of the fund which had been placed 
at the disposal of the committee by the cessation of 
the Arabic and Sanskrit printing and translating, 
and six more were established at the commencement 
of the following year. Rules were devised for bring- 
ing the proceedings in the provincial seminaries pe- 
riodically under the review of the general commit- 
tee, and for stimulating exertion by rewarding the 
most deserving students. It was resolved to annex 
a good library to each seminary, and a large sup- 
ply of books suited to all ages was ordered from 
England. By permitting every body to make use 
of the books on payment of a fixed subscription, 
these libraries have become the means of dif- 
fusing knowledge much beyond the immediate 
circle of the government seminaries, and being 
now objects of general interest, many valuable 
contributions are from time to time made to 


them.* Scientific apparatus of various kinds was 
ordered from England. Professor Peacock, of Tri- 
nity college, Cambridge, at the request of the 
committee, selected and sent out the mathematical 
class books required at the different institutions. 
Arrangements were made with the school-book 
society for the publication of a book of selections 
from the English poets, from Chaucer downwards, 
and the expediency of publishing a corresponding 
volume in prose is now under consideration. 

When these operations commenced there were 
fourteen seminaries under the control of the Com- 
mittee : there are now forty. At the first-men- 
tioned period there were about 3,398 pupils, of 
whom 1,818 were learning English, 218 Arabic, 
and 473 Sanskrit. There are now upwards of 
6,000. The number of Sanskrit and Arabic stu- 
dents is smaller than before. A small number 
study Persian, or learn the vernacular language 
only; all the rest receive an English education. 
The seminary which was last established com- 
pletely exhausted the funds at the disposal of the 

* As most young men take out a stock of books with them to 
India, while few bring any back, the common English standard 
works have accumulated there to a great extent. The public 
libraries which have been established by the committee in the prin- 
cipal towns form a nucleus round which these and many other 
books collect. 


committee. It was for the district of Dinajpoor, 
which is computed to contain 6,000 square miles, 
above 12,000 towns and villages, and a population 
exceeding 2,300,000 ; and it is a district remark- 
able even in Bengal for the darkness of the igno- 
rance which prevails in it. Though many of the 
leading inhabitants concurred with the European 
authorities in desiring that some effectual steps 
should be taken to enlighten this part of the 
country, the utmost the committee was able to 
afford was seventy rupees a month. 

As the general superintendence of the system 
is vested in a " general committee/' residing at 
Calcutta, so the management of each particular 
seminary is intrusted to a local committee resi- 
ding on the spot. The members of these com- 
mittees are appointed by the government from all 
classes of the community, native as well as Euro- 
pean. Care is taken in the selection to secure 
for the support of the system as much zeal, influ- 
ence, and information as possible, and nobody 
who has the cause at heart, and can really aid it, 
need be without a share in the management. It 
is the wish of the general committee to employ 
the government fund only in the payment of the 
salaries of teachers; by this means the perma- 
nence of the institutions will be secured, at the 


same time tliat full scope will be left for the exer- 
cise of private munificence; and as the outlay of 
the committee will be confined to fixed payments, 
easily susceptible of control, no inconvenience will 
be likely to ensue from the wide extension of the 
system. The pupils themselves are expected to 
pay for the ordinary school-books used by them, 
and it is intended to demand a small fixed sum in 
part of payment for their instruction. More regu- 
lar attendance is thus secured ; nominal students, 
who injure the discipline and retard the pro- 
gress of the institutions, become rare; the sys- 
tem is raised in general estimation, and additional 
means are acquired for improving and extending 
it. Boarding-houses are beginning to be estab- 
lished in connection with some of the seminaries, 
for the accommodation of pupils who reside at a 

In all the new institutions the important prin- 
ciple has been established of admitting boys of 
every caste without distinction. A different prac- 
tice prevailed in the older institutions; the 
Sanskrit colleges were appropriated to Brahmins; 
the Arabic colleges, with a few exceptions, to 
Mohammedans; and even at the Anglo-Indian 
institution, which goes by the name of the Hindu 
college, none but Hindus of good caste were ad- 


mitted. This practice was found to encourage the 
prejudice which it was meant to conciliate. The 
opposite practice has been attended with no incon- 
venience of any kind; Christian, Mohammedan, 
and Hindu boys, of every shade of colour and 
variety of descent, may be seen standing side by 
side in the same class, engaged in the common 
pursuit of English literature, contending for the 
same honours, and forced to acknowledge the 
existence of superior merit in their comrades of 
the lowest, as well as in those of the highest caste. 
This is a great point gained. The artificial insti- 
tution of caste cannot long survive the period when 
the youth of India, instead of being trained to 
observe it, shall be led by the daily habit of their 
lives to disregard it. All we have to do is to 
bring them together, to impress the same charac- 
ter on them, and to leave the yielding and affec- 
tionate mind of youth to its natural impulse. 
Habits of friendly communication will thus be 
established between all classes, they will insen- 
sibly become one people, and the process of 
enlightening our subjects will proceed simul- 
taneously with that of uniting them among them- 

Tn the long discussions which preceded the 
change in the plan of the committee, there was 


one point on which all parties were agreed : this 
was, that the vernacular languages contained 
neither the literary nor scientific information 
necessary for a liberal education. It was ad- 
mitted on all sides that while the instruction of 
the mass of the people through the medium of 
their own language was the ultimate object to be 
kept in view, yet, meanwhile, teachers had to be 
trained, a literature had to be created, and the 
co-operation of the upper and middle classes of 
native society had to be secured. The question 
which divided the committee was, What language 
was the best instrument for the accomplishment of 
these great objects? Half the members con- 
tended that it was English, the other half that it 
was Sanskrit and Arabic. As there was no dis- 
pute about the vernacular language, no mention 
was made of it in the resolution of the 7th March 
1835, which contained the decision of the govern- 
ment This omission led many, who were not 
acquainted with the course the discussion had 
taken, to fear that the point had been altogether 
overlooked; and in order to obviate this misap- 
prehension the committee made the following 
remarks, in the first annual report submitted by 
them to the government after the promulgation 
of the resolution referred to : 


We are deeply sensible of the importance of 
encouraging the cultivation of the vernacular lan- 
guages. We do not conceive that the order of the 
7th of March precludes us from doing this, and 
we have constantly acted on this construction. In 
the discussions which preceded that order, the 
claims of the vernacular languages were broadly 
and prominently admitted by all parties, and the 
question submitted for the decision of government, 
only concerned the relative advantage of teaching 
English on the one side, and the learned eastern 
languages on the other. We therefore conceive 
that the phrases < European literature and sci- 
ence/ < English education alone/ and c imparting 
to the native population a knowledge of English 
literature and science through the medium of the 
English language/ are intended merely to secure 
the preference to European learning taught 
through the medium of the English language, 
over oriental learning taught through the medium 
of the Sanskrit and Arabic languages, as regards 
the instruction of those natives who receive a 
learned education at our seminaries. These ex- 
pressions have, as we understand them, no reference 
to the question through what ulterior medium 
such instruction as the mass of the people is 
capable of receiving, is to be conveyed. If Eng~ 


lisli had been rejected, and the learned eastern 
tongues adopted, the people must equally have 
received their knowledge through the vernacular 
dialects. It was therefore quite unnecessary for 
the government, in deciding the question between 
the rival languages, to take any notice of the ver- 
nacular tongues, and consequently we have thought 
that nothing could reasonably be inferred from its 
omission to take such notice. 

" We conceive the formation of a vernacular 
literature to be the ultimate object to which all 
our efforts must be directed. At present, the ex- 
tensive cultivation of some foreign language, which 
is always very improving to the mind, is rendered 
indispensable by the almost total absence of a 
vernacular literature, and the consequent impossi- 
bility of obtaining a tolerable education from that 
source only. The study of English, to which many 
circumstances induce the natives to give the pre- 
ference, and with it the knowledge of the learning 
of the west, is therefore daily spreading. This, as 
it appears to us, is the first stage in the process 
by which India is to be enlightened. The natives 
must learn before they can teach. The best edu- 
cated among them must be placed in possession of 
our knowledge, before they can transfer it into 
their own language. We trust that the number 


of such translations will now multiply every year. 
As the superiority of European learning becomes 
more generally appreciated, the demand for them 
will no doubt increase, and we shall be able to 
encourage any good books which may be brought 
out in the native languages by adopting them 
extensively in our seminaries. 

" A teacher of the vernacular language of the 
province is already attached to several of our in- 
stitutions, and we look to this plan soon becoming 
general. We have also endeavoured to secure the 
means of judging for ourselves of the degree of 
attention which is paid to this important branch 
of instruction, by requiring that the best transla- 
tions from English into the vernacular language, 
and vice versa, should be sent to us after each 
annual examination, and if they seem. to deserve 
it, a pecuniary prize is awarded by us to the 
authors of them." 

These views were entirely approved by the 
government, and have since been steadily acted 
upon by the committee. One or more teachers 
of the vernacular language of the district form a 
regular part of the establishment of each English 
school, (at the Hoogly college there are as 'many 
as ten,) and pains are taken to give the pupils the 
habit of writing it with facility and propriety. 


The instructions to the local committees on this 
head are, that the pupils should be constantly 
exercised in translating into their own language, 
as well as into English, from the time they enter 
the seminaries till their departure; and that 
they should also practise original composition in 
both languages as soon as their minds have 
been sufficiently opened to attempt it with ad- 

The revenue authorities took advantage of the 
establishment of the new provincial seminaries to 
carry into effect a plan, which had beenpreviously 
attempted without success, for securing a proper 
education for the numerous wards of the govern- 
ment. Rules were laid down for this purpose. 
The wards are either to be brought up at the 
nearest seminary, or to be provided with tutors 
and books for their instruction at their own homes. 
Their attention is to be particularly directed to 
those branches of knowledge which have an ob- 
vious bearing on the good management and im- 
provement of their estates; and their progress in 
their studies is to be periodically tested and re- 
ported on. There is, perhaps, no part of the 
world where so much wealth and influence is pos- 
sessed by persons so little able to make a good use 


of it as in the interior of Bengal.* The substi- 
tution of a single humane and enlightened land- 
lord would be a blessing to a whole neighbourhood. 
The elevation of the character of the whole class 
would be a national benefit of the first magnitude. 
A great deal has been said about the advantage of 
having English landholders, but till lately nothing 
has been done to render the native landholders, 
who must always be the majority, more" fit for the 
performance of their duties. In Bengal, owing 
to the indolent and intemperate habits, and conse- 
quent early deaths of many of the great zemindars, 
minorities are frequent, and a large proportion of 
tlie landed property of the country falls under 
the management of the government in the course 
of a few years, In the western provinces, where 
landed property exists in a more wholesome form, 
a new settlement for thirty years has given peace 
of mind, leisure, and comparative opulence to the 
agricultural classes. If these circumstances are 

* As by the permanent settlement we have put the agricultural 
classes into the hands of the Bengal zemindars, we are bound, as 
far as we are able, to qualify the latter to exercise their power 
aright. The new men who have purchased their estates under 
our system are, as a class, friendly to improvement; but when 
they take up their abode in parts of the country where there are 
no means of obtaining a tolerable education, they become after 
a generation or two as ignorant and bigoted as the rest. 


properly taken advantage of, we shall ere long be 
able to make a salutary impression on this most 
important part of the community. 

While the general question of native education 
was debated in the committee, a distinct but 
deeply interesting branch of the subject under- 
went a similar examination elsewhere. The in- 
struction of the natives in the medical art had 
hitherto been provided for as follows. The sys- 
tems of Galen and Hippocrates, and of the 
Shasters, with the addition of a few scraps of 
European medical science, was taught in classes 
which had been attached for that purpose to the 
Arabic and Sanskrit colleges at Calcutta, There 
was also a separate institution at Calcutta, the 
object of which was to train up " native doctors/' 
or assistants to the European medical officers. 
There was only one teacher attached to this in- 
stitution, and he delivered his lectures^in JHinr 
dusthanee. The onTy" medical booEs open to the 
pupils were a few short tracts which had been 
translated for their use into that language; the 
only dissection practised was that of the inferior 
animals. It is obvious that the knowledge com- 
municated by such imperfect means could neither 
be complete nor practical. 

Much public benefit had been derived in the 
c 2 


judicial and revenue administration from the 
substitution of cheap native, for dear European 
agency. Lord William Bentinck now proposed to 
extend this plan to the medical department, and 
to raise up a class of native medical practitioners, 
educated on sound European principles, to super- 
sede the native quacks who, unacquainted with 
anatomy or the simplest principles of chemical 
action, prey on the people, and hesitate not to use 
the most dangerous drugs and poisons. Physi- 
cians and surgeons, however, were not to be had 
ready-made, like judges and collectors. A profes- 
sional education was necessary, and it was doubtful 
whether the natives would submit to the condi- 
tions which this education implied. A committee 
was therefore appointed to inquire into and report 
on the- subject. 

After a careful investigation, the committee 
came to the conclusion that it was perfectly 
feasible to educate native medical men on broad 
European principles, some of whom might be 
gradually substituted for the foreign practitioners 
at the civil and military stations, and others might 
be sent out among the mass of their countrymen, 
to give them the inestimable blessing of enlight- 
ened medical attendance. With regard to prac- 
tical human anatomy, they stated it as their opinion 


that " times are much changed, and the diffi- 
culties that stood in the way appear no longer 
insurmountable ;" and they considered a knowledge 
of the English language to be a necessary previous 
qualification in the pupils, " because that language 
combines within itself the circle of all the sciences, 
and incalculable wealth of printed works and 
illustrations; circumstances that give it obvious 
advantages over the oriental languages, in which 
are only to be found the crudest elements of 
science, or the most irrational substitutes for it." 

This point, however, was not attained without 
encountering a sharp opposition. The superin- 
tendent of the medical institution, a learned and 
enthusiastic orientalist, set in array the arguments 
of his party, and confidently predicted the failure 
of every attempt to remodel the institution on the 
principles advocated by the medical committee. 
The Rev. Mr. (now Doctor) Duff, to whom the 
cause of sound learning and true religion in the 
East is deeply indebted, took up the opposite side. 
The battle which had been so well contested in 
the education committee was fought over again 
in this new field ; but I must refer to the extract 
from the medical committee's report in the ap- 
pendix for the substance of what was said on both 

c 3 


In accordance with the recommendation of this 
committee, the old medical institution and the 
Arabic and Sanskrit medical classes were abo- 
lished, and an entirely new college was founded, in 
which the various branches of medical science culti- 
vated in Europe are taught on the most approved 
European system. The establishment of professors, 
the library, the museum, are on the most liberal 
scale. A hospital is about to be opened on the 
premises belonging to the college, for the purpose 
of giving the students the advantage of clinical 
instruction. Distinguished pupils are drafted from 
the different provincial seminaries to the medical 
college, and it is intended to establish dispen- 
saries, including the necessary provision for vacci- 
nation and for the treatment of surgical cases^ at 
the principal towns in the interior, which will be 
placed under the charge of young men who have 
been educated at the college. European medical 
science will thus strike root at once in many dif- 
ferent parts of Gangetic India, and the knowledge 
acquired at the new institution will be employed 
from the earliest possible period in alleviating the 
sufferings of the people. Of all the late measures 
for the promotion of education in India, this alone 
was adopted in anticipation of the effectual de- 
mand; and the stipends, which had always been 


allowed to medical students, must therefore be 
continued until the advantages to be derived from 
the college by persons wishing to qualify them- 
selves for the medical profession become more 
generally evident The professional training at 
that institution is carried so much beyond the 
period usually allotted to education in India, that, 
without this assistance, the poverty or indifference 
of the parents would often cause the studies of 
the young men, particularly when they come from 
a distance, to be brought to a premature close. 

This noble institution is succeeding to the full 
extent of the most sanguine expectations which 
had been formed of it. The pupils are animated 
by the most lively professional zeal, and they 
evince a degree of quickness and intelligence in 
the prosecution of their studies which has perhaps 
never been surpassed. Mr. James Prinsep, who 
tested the proficiency of the chemical class at the 
last examination, reported officially as follows : 
" In the first place, I may remark generally, that 
all the essays are extremely creditable. Indeed, 
the extent and accuracy of the information on 
the single subject selected to test the abilities 
of the pupils has far surpassed my expectations ; 
and I do not think that in Europe any class of 
chemical pupils would be found capable of passing 
c 4 


a better examination for the time they have at- 
tended lectures, nor, indeed, that an equal number 
of boys would be found so nearly on a par in their 
acquirements. The differences are those rather 
of different age, different natural ability, or reten- 
tion of memory. The faults of explanation are 
trifling. Grammatical errors are more numerous, 
but allowance must be made for them in boys 
writing in a foreign tongue, in the rudiments of 
which they have been unequally instructed. 

" Many of the papers show that, besides at* 
tending to the words of the lecturer, the writers 
have studied his manual, indeed some seem almost 
to use his very words ; but I by no means regard 
this as a fault; on the contrary, it proves attention 
and interest in the subject of their studies. One 
or two go farther, and quote other authorities, to 
which they must have had recourse in their 
reading up ; and as it could not be known what 
subject would be placed before them, this betokens 
a considerable acquaintance with chemical authors. 
One pupil, indeed, details the whole series of toxi- 
cological tests for discovering arsenical poisons; 
and I should be inclined to award the highest 
place to him, were there not some inaccuracies in 
his too brief notice of the general properties of 
the metal." Mr. James Prinsep is secretary to 


the Asiatic Society, and is well known for his 
scientific attainments. His testimony is the more 
gratifying, because he is attached to the oriental 
class of opinions, and was one of the two members 
who seceded from the committee when it was 
resolved to take a decided course in favour of 

The peculiar glory of the medical college, how- 
ever, consists in the victory which it has obtained 
over the most intractable of the national pre- 
judices, which often survives a change of religion, 
and was supposed to be interwoven, if any thing 
could be, with the texture itself of the Hindu 
mind. Brahmins and other high-caste Hindus 
may be seen in the dissecting-room of the college 
handling the knife, and demonstrating from the 
human subject, with even more than the indiffer- 
ence of European professional men. Operations 
at the sight of which English students not unfre- 
quently faint, are regarded with the most eager 
interest, and without any symptom of loathing, by 
the self-possessed Hindu. Subjects for dissection 
are easily and unobjectionably obtained in a 
country in which human life is more than usually 
precarious, and where the respect felt for the 
dead. is much less than in Europe. An injection 
of arsenic into the veins prevents that rapid de- 
c 5 


composition which the heat of the climate would 
otherwise engender. There is now nothing to 
prevent the people of India from attaining to the 
highest eminence in the medical art ; and we shall 
soon be able to make the college entirely national, 
by replacing the foreign by indigenous professors. 
The importance of this remarkable step in the 
progress of native improvement is so generally 
acknowledged, that even the Hindus of the old 
school have given in their adherence to the medi- 
cal college; and the Shasters, with the elasticity 
peculiar to them, have been made to declare that 
the dissection of human bodies for medical pur- 
poses is not prohibited by them. The establish- 
ment of the medical college has received the 
approbation of the Court of Directors ; they have 
indeed reason to be proud of it as one of the chief 
ornaments of their administration. 

Besides settling the principle of national educa- 
tion. Lord William Bentinck prepared the means 
of ultimately extending it to the mass of the 
people. He justly considered that, to place this 
great work on a solid foundation, it was necessary 
to ascertain the exact nature and extent of the 
popular wants, the difficulties and the facilities of 
the task, and the local peculiarities which might 
require a partial change of plan. Our know- 


ledge of the existing state of feeling and of men- 
tal cultivation in the principal towns was suffi- 
ciently accurate to enable us to proceed with con- 
fidence;, as far as they were concerned ; but more 
minute information was necessary before we could 
venture to extend our operations from town to 
country, from the few with whom the European 
society are in direct communication to the body 
of the people. Mr. William Adam, a gentleman 
distinguished for his accurate and methodical 
habits of mind, and for his intimate acquaintance 
with the natives and their languages, was there- 
fore appointed to make a searching inquiry into 
the existing state of native education in the in- 
terior. Mr. Adam has ever since been employed 
on his educational survey, and has visited many 
different districts, average specimens of which he 
has subjected to a strict analysis. 

Meanwhile all the materials of a national sys- 
tem of education are fast accumulating ; teachers 
are trained; books are multiplied; the interest 
felt in the subject is strengthening and spreading ; 
and the upper class of natives in the towns are 
being prepared to aid by their influence and ex- 
ample in the enlightening of the lower classes 
in the country. 

c 6 


The Study of Foreign Languages and Literature a 
powerful Instrument of National Improvement. 
The Instruction of the upper and middle Classes the 
first Object. 

THE past history of the world authorizes us to 
believe that the movement which is taking place 
in India, if properly directed and supported by 
the Government, will end in bringing about a 
decided change for the better in the character of 
the people. The instances in which nations have 
worked their way to a high degree of civilization 
from domestic resources only are extremely rare,, 
compared with those in which the impulse has 
been communicated from without,, and has been 
supported by the extensive study and imitation of 
the literature of foreign countries. The cases in 
which the most lasting impressions have been 
made upon national character, in which the supe- 
rior civilization of one country has taken deepest 
root and fructified most abundantly in other 
countries, have a strong general resemblance to 
the case before us. In those cases the foreign sys- 
tems of learning were first studied in the original 
tongue by the upper and middle classes, who alone 


possessed the necessary leisure. From this fol- 
lowed a diffusion of the knowledge contained in 
the foreign literature, a general inclination of the 
national taste towards it, and an assimilation of 
the vernacular language, by the introduction into 
it of numerous scientific and other terms. Last 
of all, the vernacular tongue began to be culti- 
vated in its improved state; translations and imi- 
tations sprang up in abundance, and creative 
genius occasionally caught the impulse, and struck 
out a masterpiece of its own. 

Every scholar knows to what a great extent the 
Romans cultivated Grecian literature, and adopted 
Grecian models of taste. It was only after the 
national mind had become deeply impregnated 
from this source, that they began to have a litera- 
ture of their own. The writers of the Augustan 
age were bred in the school, were animated by the 
spirit, were nourished with the food of conquered 
Greece. Virgil was a mere imitator, however 
noble : the Roman dramas are feeble transla- 
tions from the Greek: the entire Roman lite- 
rature is only an echo of the Greek literature. 
The Romans made no scruple in acknowledging 
the obligations they were under to the cultivation 
of Grecian learning. Their enthusiasm was di- 
rected to the object of enriching their native 


language with all that, in that age of the world, 
could be imported from abroad. 

It is a curious fact that an intellectual revo- 
lution similar to that which is now in progress in 
India, actually took place among the Romans. 
At an early period, the Etruscan was, as Livy tells 
us, the language which the young Romans studied. 
No patrician was considered as liberally educated 
who had not learned in the sacred books of the 
augurs of Clusium and Volaterrae, how to quarter 
the heavens, what was meant by the appearance 
of a vulture on the left hand, and what rites were 
to be performed on a spot which had been smitten 
by thunder. This sort of knowledge very ana- 
lagous to the knowledge which is contained in the 
Sanskrit books, was considered as the most 
valuable learning, until an increased acquaintance 
with the Greek language produced < a complete 
change. Profound speculations on morals, legis- 
lation, and government; lively pictures of human 
life and manners; pure and energetic models of 
political eloquence, drove out the jargon of a 
doting superstition. If we knew more minutely 
the history of that change, we should probably 
find that it was vehemently resisted by very dis- 
tinguished Etruscan scholars, and that all sorts of 
fearful consequences were represented as inevjt- 


able, if the old learning about the flight of birds 
and the entrails of beasts should be abandoned 
for Homer, and if the mysteries of the lidental 
should be neglected for Thucydides and Plato. 

The Roman language and literature, thus en- 
riched and improved, was destined to still prouder 
triumphs. The inhabitants of the greatest part 
of Europe and of the North of Africa, educated 
in every respect like the Romans, became in every 
respect equal to them. The impression which 
was then made will never be effaced. It sank so 
deep into the language and habits of the people, 
that Latin to this day forms the basis of the 
tongues of France and southern Europe, and the 
Roman law the basis of their jurisprudence. The 
barbarous hordes which triumphed over the arms, 
yielded to the arts of Rome. Roman literature 
survived the causes which led to its diffusion, and 
even spread beyond the ancient limits of the em- 
pire. The Poles and Hungarians were led neither 
by any pressure from without, nor by any artificial 
encouragement from within, to make Latin their 
language of education, of literature, of business, 
and, to a very remarkable extent, of ordinary col- 
loquial intercourse. They did so, we may presume, 
because their own language contained nothing 
worth knowing, while Latin included within itself 


almost all the knowledge which at that time ex- 
isted in the world. 

After this came the great revival of learning, 
at the close of the fifteenth and the beginning 
of the sixteenth centuries. At that period, the 
historian Robertson observes, " all the modern 
languages were in a state extremely barbar- 
ous, devoid of elegance, of vigour, and even 
of perspicuity. No author thought of writing 
in language so ill adapted to express and em- 
bellish his sentiments, or of erecting a work for 
immortality with such rude and perishable mate- 
rials. As the spirit which prevailed at that time 
did not owe its rise to any original effort of the 
human mind, but was excited chiefly by admira- 
tion of the ancients, which began then to be 
studied with attention in every part of Europe, 
their compositions were deemed not only the 
standards of taste and of sentiment, but of style j 
and even the languages in which they wrote were 
thought to be peculiar, and almost consecrated to 
learning and the muses. Not only the manner of 
the ancients was imitated, but their language was 
adopted; and, extravagant as the attempt may 
appear, to write in a dead tongue, in which men 
were not accustomed to think, and which they 
could not speak, or even pronounce, the success 


of it was astonishing. As they formed their style 
upon the purest models ; as they were uninfected 
with those barbarisms, which the inaccuracy of 
familiar conversation, the affectation of courts, 
intercourse with strangers, and a thousand other 
causes, introduce into living languages, many 
moderns have attained to a degree of elegance in 
their Latin compositions which the Romans them- 
selves scarce possessed beyond the limits of the 
Augustan age." 

Had the mental stimulus produced by the re- 
vival of letters been confined to scholars, the pro- 
gress of improvement would have stopped at this 
point ; but all who had time to read, whether they 
knew Latin or not, felt the influence of the move- 
ment, and this great class was receiving continual 
additions from the rapid increase of wealth. 
Hence arose a demand which the classical lan- 
guages could not satisfy, and from this demand 
sprang the vernacular literature of Europe. We 
are indebted to foreign nations and distant ages 
both for the impulse which struck it out, and for 
the writings which warmed the fancy and formed 
the taste of its founders. Abounding, as we are, 
in intellectual wealth, could we venture even now 
to tell our youth that they have no longer occa- 
sion to seek for nourishment from the stores of 


the Latin, Greek, French, German, Spanish, and 
Italian literatures ? The French fell into a mis- 
take of this kind, and they have suffered for it. 
Proud of the honour, and sensible of the political 
advantage of having their own language generally 
understood, they were not sufficiently alive to the 
new resources they might have derived from the 
study of foreign languages.* Their literature, 
therefore, wants that copiousness and variety 
which is characteristic of the English and Ger- 
man. Now they see their error, and, instead of 
confining themselves to their own stores, and 
copying and re-copying their own models, they 
have begun to look abroad and study the master- 
pieces of other nations. German literature is a 
remarkable instance of the success with which 
industry and genius may nationalize foreign ma- 
terials. It has arisen, almost within the memory 
of persons now living, on the basis of the astonish- 
ing erudition collected by the German writers 
from every living and dead language worth laying 
under contribution. 

Had our ancestors acted as the committee of pub- 

* It has been justly observed, that for the French to pride 
themselves upon all foreign nations studying their language, while 
they study the language of no foreign nation, is like a blind man 
boasting that every body can see him, while he can see nobody. 


lie instruction acted up to March 1 835* ; " had they 
neglected the language of Thucydides and Plato, 
and the language of Cicero and Tacitus ; had they 
confined their attention to the old dialects of our 
own island; had they printed nothing and taught 
nothing at the universities but chronicles in Anglo-' 
Saxon, and romances in Norman French, would 
England ever have been what she now is ? What 
the Greek and Latin were to the contemporaries 
of More and Ascham, our tongue is to the people 
of India. The literature of England is now more 
valuable than that of classical antiquity. I doubt 
whether the Sanskrit literature be as valuable as 
that of our Saxon and Norman progenitors ; in 
some departments, in history, for example, I am 
certain that it is much less so. 

Another instance may be said to be still before 
our eyes. Within the last hundred and twenty 
years a nation, which had previously been in a 
state as barbarous as that in which our ancestors 
were before the crusades, has gradually emerged 
from the ignorante in which it was sunk, and has 
taken its place among civilized communities. I 
speak of Russia. There is now in that country a 

* This is taken from one of the papers recorded during the 
discussions which preceded the resolution of the 7th March IS 35. 
J shall hereafter make several similar extracts. 


large educated class, abounding with pilous lit 
to serve the state in the highest functions, and in 
nowise inferior to the most accomplished nun 
who adorn the best circles of Paris and London. 
There Is reason to hope that, this vast empire, 
which in the time of our grandfathers was pro- 
bably behind the Punjab, may in the time of 
of our grandchildren be pressing close on 
France and Britain in the career of improve- 
ment And how was this change effected? Not 
by flattering national prejudices; not by feeding 
the mind of the young Muscovite with the old 
women's stones which his rude fathers had be- 
lieved; not by filling his head with lying legends 
about St. Nicholas; not by encouraging him to 
study the great question, whether the world was 
or was not created on the 1 3th of September; not 
by calling him " a learned native" when lie had 
mastered all these points of knowledge?; but by 
teaching him those foreign languages in which the 
greatest mass of information had been laid up, 
and thus putting all that information within his 
reach. The languages of western Europe civilized 
Russia. I cannot doubt that they will do for the 
Hindoo what they have done for the Tartar," 

The literary epoch of the Arabians dales from 
the time at which they commenced the study of the 


Grecian writers. That the impulse was not stronger 
or more permanent, is owing, perhaps, to the 
partial use which they made of this great instru- 
ment of national improvement. If, instead of con- 
tenting themselves with meagre translations of 
some of the Greek philosophers, they had studied 
Plato and Xenophon, Homer and Thucydides, in 
the original, a flame of generous liberty might have 
been kindled, and a new direction might have been 
given at that period to the views and feelings of 
the people of the East, the possible effects of which 
up to the present day it is impossible to calculate. 
* The Arabs pursued a very different course in 

* Gibbon observes on this point : " The Moslems deprived 
themselves of the principal benefits of a familiar intercourse with 
Greece and Rome, the knowledge of antiquity, the purity of taste, 
and the freedom of thought. Confident in the riches of their 
native tongue, the Arabians disdained the study of any foreign 
idiom. The philosophers of Athens and Rome enjoyed the bless- 
ings and asserted the rights of civil and religious freedom. Their 
moral and political writings might have gradually unlocked the 
fetters of eastern despotism, diffused a liberal spirit of inquiry and 
toleration, and encouraged the Arabian sages to suspect that their 
caliph was a tyrant, and their prophet an impostor. To the thirst 
of martyrdom, the vision of paradise, and the belief of predestina- 
tion, we must ascribe the invincible enthusiasm of the prince and 
people ; and the sword of the Saracens became less formidable 
when their youth was drawn away from the camp to the college, 
when the armies of the faithful presumed to read and reflect. Yet 
the foolish vanity of the Greeks was jealous of their studies, and 
reluctantly imparted the sacred fire to the barbarians of the East." 
These Moslems were only the neighbours of the lower empire, 


their intercourse with the various nations included 
within their dominions. They extolled the beauty 
of their own language, and gave the utmost en- 
couragement to the cultivation of it. The effect 
was not universally beneficial, because many of 
the subject races were already in a more advanced 
stage of civilization than the Arabs themselves; 
but it was such as exemplified, in a very remark- 
able way, the extent to which the study of a new 
language and literature may remould national 
character. Arabic literature became the literature 
of all the conquered nations ; their dialects were 
saturated with Arabic words; their habits of 
thought, their manners, their whole character, 
became conformed to the same standard. Reli- 
gion has, no doubt, a great deal to do with the 
striking uniformity which prevails throughout the 
Mohammedan world ; but language and literature 
have a great deal more to do with it. There are 
many tribes on the outskirts of Mohammedanism 
which have conformed to the religion, without 
adopting the learning of Islam, and they are often 

and it was perhaps not in the power of the Greeks to make more 
than a faint impression upon them. The Moslems with whom we 
have to do are our own subjects ; and if we neglect to mitigate the 
hostile spirit of the sect, by encouraging the disposition they evince 
to cultivate our literature and science, posterity will have a heavier 
charge to bring against us than that of " foolish vanity." 


not to be distinguished from the people of the 
same tribe who have adhered to the religion of 
their fathers, with whom they have language and 
every thing else in common. 

These are the facts upon which the plan of the 
education committee is based. Their object is to 
fill the minds of the liberally educated portion of 
the people with the knowledge of Europe, in 
order that they may interpret it in their own 
language to the rest of their countrymen. For 
this purpose, while, on the one hand, the pupils 
are encouraged to acquire the various kinds of 
information which English literature contains, 
and to form their taste after the best English 
models ; on the other, every endeavour is used to 
give them the habit of writing with facility and 
elegance in their native language. 

The committee's first desire is to establish a 
seminary based on these -principles at each Zillah 
station, The large towns always take the lead in 
the march of improvement : the class of people 
whose circumstances give them leisure to study to 
good purpose, and influence to make their example 
followed, are congregated there in greater num- 
bers than elsewhere. Even the proprietors resi- 
ding on their estates in the district keep up a 
close connection with their provincial capitals, 


where they have generally town houses and resi- 
dent agents. The subordinate officers of govern- 
ment are selected and sent from thence to exer- 
cise their functions in the surrounding country. 
The European functionaries are present there to 
exercise a general superintendence over the semi- 
naries, and to assist the teachers with their coun- 
tenance and experience. By purifying the circu- 
lation through these vital organs, the whole system 
will be re-invigorated ; the rich, the learned, the 
men of business, will first be gained; a new class 
of teachers will be trained; books in the verna- 
cular language will be multiplied ; and with these 
accumulated means we shall in due time proceed 
to extend our operations from town to country, 
from the few to the many, until every hamlet 
shall be provided with its elementary school. 
The poor man is not less the object of the com- 
mittee's solicitude than the rich; but, while the 
means at their disposal were extremely limited, 
there were millions of all classes to be educated. 
It was absolutely necessary to make a selection, 
and they therefore selected the upper and middle 
classes as the first object of their attention, 
because, by educating them first, they would 
soonest be able to extend the same advantages to 
the rest of the people. They will be our school- 


masters, translators, authors ; none of which func- 
tions the poor man, with his scanty stock of know- 
ledge, is able to perform. They are the leaders 
of the people. By adopting them first into our 
system we shall be able to proceed a few years 
hence, with an abundant supply of proper books 
and instructors, and with all the wealth and influ- 
ence of the country on our side, to establish a 
general system of education which shall afford to 
every person of every rank the means of acquir- 
ing that degree of knowledge which his leisure 
will permit. 


The violent Opposition made "by Oriental Scholars to 
the Resolution of the 1th March 1835. The whole 
Question rests upon Two Points; first, WJiether 
English or Arabic and Sanskrit Literature is best 
calculated for the Improvement of the People of India ; 
and secondly > Whether , supposing English Literature 
to be best adapted for that Purpose, the Natives are 
willing to cultivate it These Points considered. 

THE resolution of the 7th of March 1835 was passed 
in the face of the most keen and determined 
opposition on the part of several distinguished 
persons whose influence had not been usually 
exerted in vain ; and their representations were 
seconded by a petition got up by the numerous 
class of persons whose subsistence was dependent 
on the oriental colleges, and on the printing and 
other operations of the committee connected with 
them. The Asiatic Society also took up the cause 
with great vehemence, and memorialised the local 
government, while the Court of Directors and the 
Board of Control were pressed by strong remon- 
strances from the Royal Asiatic Society. The spirit 
of orientalism was stirred up to its inmost depths. 


and the cry of indignation of the Calcutta literati 
was re-echoed with more than its original bitter- 
ness from the colleges of France and Germany. 

In order to understand these phenomena, it will 
be necessary to go back a few years in the history 
of India. When Lord Wellesley established the 
college of Fort William, he provided munifi- 
cently for the encouragement of oriental learning. 
For a long time after, that learning was nearly the 
sole test of merit among the junior members of 
the civil service, and such military and medical 
officers as aspired to civil employment A su- 
perior knowledge of Sanskrit and Arabic wan .sure 
to be rewarded by a good place. The reputations of 
many members of the government and of nearly 
all the secretaries had been founded on this basis. 
The literary circle of Calcutta was almost exclu- 
sively composed of orientalists. The education 
committee was formed when this state of things 
was at its height, and hence the decidedly oriental 
cast of its first proceedings. 

By degrees the rage for orientalism subsided 
among the Europeans, while the taste for European 
literature rose to a great height among the natives, 
A modification of the committee's proceedings 
suited to this altered state of things was called for; 
but the persons who had been trained under the 


old system still occupied the strongholds of the 
administration, and motives were not wanting to 
dispose them to an obstinate defence. The habits 
of a long life were now for the first time broken 
in upofo. They felt as if the world were given to 
understand that they had spent their strength for 
nought, and that their learning was altogether 
vanity.* The axe seemed to them to be laid at 
the root of their reputations. This was more than 
human nature could bear. Men who had been 
remarkable for self-restraint completely lost their 
temper, and those who had been accustomed to 
give free expression to their feelings showed un- 
usual warmth on this occasion. It was a striking 
exhibition of character. It is true that the well- 
earned honours of mature life had rendered seve- 
ral of these distinguished persons independent 

* Jacquemont makes the following remarks on this subject in 
one of hi.? letters to his father, vol. i. p. 222-3 : " Le Sanskrit 
r.e menera a rien qu'au Sanskrit. Le mechanisme de ce languge admirablcment complique, et neanrnoins, dit on, admirable. 
Mais c'est comme une de ces machines qui ne sorteut pas de con- 
servatoires et des museums, plus ingemeuscs qti'utilcs. Elle n'a 
scrvi qxi'& fabriqucr de la theologie, de la mdtaphysiquc, de 1'his- 
toirc me!6e de theologie, et autrcs billcvesees du meme genre : 
galimathias triple pour les faiscurs et pour les cousommatcurs, 
pour les consommateurs Strangers surtout, galimathias fo &c. &c, 
'La mode du Sanskrit et de Porwntulisme litteraire en gdiifiral durera 
cepeiidant, pen ce que ccux qui avratit passe ou perdu quinze ou 
r'mgt cms d apprendre VArabe ou k Sanskrit n'tntront la candcur 
tfavouer qu'ih possvdmt une science inutih. " 


of their early reputation for eastern learning* 
But this availed nothing. The blow had gone 
straight to the sources of their habitual feel-^ 
ings, and the effect which followed was highly 

The motive which led the oriental literary so- 
cieties to take up the cause of that section of the 
committee which supported the interests of oriental 
literature is still more obvious. The object of the 
Asiatic societies is to investigate the history and 
antiquities of the East; to lay open to the European 
world whatever the records of Asia contain to 
illustrate and aid the progress of mind, of morals, 
and of natural history. The object of the educa- 
tion committee is to instruct the people of India in 
sound knowledge and true morality. The Asiatic 
societies are organs for making known the arts 
and sciences of Asia to Europe. The education 
committee is an organ for making known the arts 
and sciences of Europe to Asia. Yet different, and, 
to a great extent, incompatible, as these ob- 
jects are, the education committee had acted, in 
the main, as if it had been only a subordinate 
branch of the Bengal Asiatic Society. The same 
gentleman was long secretary to both. Ancient 
learning of a kind which every body must admit 
D 3 


to be more fit for an antiquarian society than for 
a seminary of popular education was profusely 
patronised. Extensive plans for the publication 
of Arabic and Sanskrit works, which exceeded the 
means of any literary association, were executed 
out of the fund which the British parliament had 
assigned for enlightening the people of India. 
The full extent of this union became apparent 
after it had been dissolved. A limb had been 
torn from the parent trunk, and the struggle with 
which the disruption was resisted showed how 
intimate the connection had been. By vehemently 
complaining of the suspension of the plans for the 
encouragement of ancient oriental literature, the 
literary societies virtually acknowledged the iden- 
tity of their own operations and of the past opera- 
tions of the education committee. 

Those societies are entitled to the highest re- 
spect, and nobody can blame them for endeavour- 
ing to obtain support in the prosecution of the 
laudable objects for which they are associated. 
The responsible parties were the education com- 
mittee and the Bengal government. It was for 
them to consider whether the mode which had 
been adopted of disbursing the education fund 
was the one best suited to the accomplishment of 



the object for which that fund had been instituted. 
If it was, they had properly acquitted themselves 
of the trust reposed in them, whether their plans 
happened to coincide with those of the Asiatic 
Society or not ; if it was not, some change was 
obviously required. 

This deeply important subject was long and 
carefully examined, both by the committee and 
the government. The decision which was come 
to has been already related, and it is needless to 
recount all the arguments which were used on the 
occasion. The whole question turns upon two 
points : the first of which is, whether English or 
Sanskrit and Arabic literature is best calculated 
for the enlightenment of the people of India ; the 
other, whether, supposing English literature to 
be best adapted for that purpose, the natives are 
ready to avail themselves of the advantages which 
it holds out. When these points are determined 
the question is settled, and it is capable of being 
settled in no other way. 

The comparative state of science in European 
and Asiatic countries might be supposed to be too 
well known to admit of any dispute on the first 
point; but as our opponents sometimes argue as 
if it were still a doubtful question whether English 
or oriental literature is most calculated to advance 
B 4 


the cause of human improvement, I shall appeal 
to several authorities which will, I think, be listened 
to with deference on this question. 

The pains which the late Bishop Heber took to 
obtain correct information on every subject which 
had even a remote bearing on the improvement of 
India are so well known, that nobody will be sur- 
prised at his having left his opinion on this vital 
point fully on record. The following is extracted 
from his letter to Sir Wilmot Horton, dated March 
1824, published in the appendix to his journal. 

" Government has, however, been very liberal 
in its grants, both to a society for national educa- 
tion, and in the institution and support of two 
colleges of Hindu students of riper age, the one 
at Benares, the other at Calcutta. But I do not 
think any of these institutions, in the way after 
which they are at present conducted, likely to do 
much good. In the elementary schools supported 
by the former, through a very causeless and ridi- 
culous fear of giving offence to the natives, they 
have forbidden the use of the Scriptures or any 
extracts from them, though the moral lessons of 
the Gospel are read by all Hindus who can get 
hold of them, without scruple, and with much 
attention, and though their exclusion is tanta- 
mount to excluding all moral instruction from 


their schools, the Hindu sacred writings having 
nothing of the kind, and, if they had, being shut 
up from the majority of the people by the double 
fence of a dead language, and an actual prohibi- 
tion to read them, as too holy for common eyes or 
ears. The defects of the latter will appear when 
I have told you that the actual state of Hindu 
and Mussulman literature, mutatis mutandis, very 
nearly resembles what the literature of Europe 
was before the time of Galileo, Copernicus, and 
Bacon. The Mussulmans take their logic from 
Aristotle, filtered through many successive trans- 
lations and commentaries, and their metaphysical 
system is professedly derived from Plato, ( c Fila- 
toun'). The Hindus have systems not very dis- 
similar from these, though, I am told, of greater 
length and more intricacy; but the studies in 
which they spend most of their time are the 
acquisition of the Sanskrit, and the endless refine- 
ments of its grammar, prosody, and poetry. Both 
have the same natural philosophy, which is also 
that of Aristotle in zoology and botany, and Pto- 
lemy in astronomy, for which the Hindus have 
forsaken their more ancient notions of the seven 
seas, the six earths, and the flat base of Padalon, 
supported on the back of a tortoise. By the 
science which they now possess they are some of 
D 5 


them able to foretell an eclipse, or compose an 
almanac ; and many of them derive some little 
pecuniary advantage from pretensions to judicial 
astrology. In medicine and chemistry they are 
just sufficiently advanced to talk of substances 
being moist, dry, hot, &c. in the third or fourth 
degree; to dissuade from letting blood or phy- 
sicking on a Tuesday, or under a particular aspect 
of the heavens, and to be eager in their pursuit of 
the philosopher's stone, and the elixir of im- 

" The task of enlightening the studious jouth 
of such a nation would seem to be a tolerably 
straightforward one. But though, for the college 
in Calcutta, (not Bishop's College, remember, but 
the Sanskrit, or Hindu College,) an expensive set 
of instruments has been sent out, and it seems in- 
tended that the natural sciences should be studied 
there, the managers of the present institution take 
care that their boys should have as little time as 
possible for such pursuits, by requiring from them 
all, without exception, a laborious study of San- 
skrit, and all the useless, and worse than useless, 
literature of their ancestors. A good deal of this 
has been charged (and in some little degree 
charged with justice) against the exclusive atten- 
tion paid to Greek and logic, till lately, in Oxford. 


But in Oxford we have never been guilty (since a 
better system was known in the world at large) of 
teaching the physics of Aristotle, however we may 
have paid an excessive attention to his metaphysics 
and dialectics. 

" In Benares, however, I found in the institu- 
tion supported by Government a professor lec- 
turing on astronomy after the system of Ptolemy 
and Albunazar, while one of the most forward 
boys was at the pains of casting my horoscope ; 
and the majority of the school were toiling at 
Sanskrit grammar. And yet the day before, in 
the same holy city, I had visited another college, 
founded lately by a wealthy Hindu banker, and 
entrusted by him to the management of the 
Church Missionary Society, in which, besides a 
grammatical knowledge of the Hindus thanee lan- 
guage, as- well as Persian and Arabic, the senior 
boys could pass a good examination in English 
grammar, in Hume's History of England, Joyce's 
Scientific Dialogues, the use of the globes, and 
the principal facts and moral precepts of the 
Gospel, most of them writing beautifully in the 
Persian and very tolerably in the English cha- 
racter, and excelling most boys I have met with in 
the accuracy and readiness of their arithmetic. 
* * * Ram Mohun Roy, a learned native, 
D 6 


who has sometimes been called, though I fear 
without reason, a Christian, remonstrated against 
this system last year in a paper which he sent me 
to be put into Lord Amherst's hands, and which, 
for its good English, good sense, and forcible argu- 
ments, is a real curiosity, as coming from an 
Asiatic. I have not since been in Calcutta, and 
know not whether any improvement has occurred 
in consequence; but from the unbounded attach- 
ment to Sanskrit literature displayed by some of 
those who chiefly manage those affairs, I have no 
great expectation of the kind. Of the value of 
the acquirements which so much is sacrificed to 
retain I can only judge from translations, and 
they certainly do not seem to me worth picking 
out of the rubbish under which they were sink- 
ing. Some of the poetry of the Mahabarat I am 
told is good, and I think a good deal of the Ra- 
mayuna pretty. But no work has yet been pro- 
duced which even pretends to be authentic history. 
No useful discoveries in science are, I believe, so 
much as expected ; and I have no great sympathy 
with those students who value a worthless tract 
merely because it calls itself old, or a language 
which teaches nothing, for the sake of its copious- 
ness and intricacy. If I were to run wild after 
oriental learning I should certainly follow that of 


the Mussulmans, whose histories seem really very 
much like those of Europe, and whose poetry, so 
far as I am yet able to judge, has hardly had jus- 
tice done to it in the ultra flowery translations 
which have appeared in the West." 

Bishop Heber's account of his visit to the 
Sanskrit college at Benares is strikingly characte- 
ristic of the system of public instruction described 
in the above extract It presents a picture which 
would be highly amusing, if the mental and moral 
darkness which must be the result of such a system 
were not calculated to excite feelings of the deepest 

" Suttees are less numerous in Benares than 
many parts of India, but self-immolation by drown- 
ing is very common. Many scores, every year, 
of pilgrims from all parts of India come hither 
expressly to end their days and secure their sal- 
vation. They purchase two large Kedgeree pots, 
between which they tie themselves, and when 
empty these support their weight in the water. 
Thus equipped, they paddle into the stream, then 
fill the pots with the water which surrounds them, 
and thus sink into eternity. Government have 
sometimes attempted to prevent this practice, but 
with no other effect than driving the voluntary 
victims a little further down the river; nor in- 
deed, when a man has come several hundred miles 


to die, is it likely that a police officer can prevent 
him. Instruction seems the only way in which 
these poor people can be improved, and that, I 
trust, they will by degrees obtain from us. 

" The Vidalaya is a large building divided into 
two courts, galleried above and below, and full of 
teachers and scholars, divided into a number of 
classes, who learn reading, writing, arithmetic, (in 
the Hindoo manner,) Persian, Hindoo law, and 
sacred literature, Sanskrit, astronomy according to 
the Ptolemaic system, and astrology ! There are 
200 scholars, some of whom of all sorts came to 
say their lessons to me, though, unhappily, I was 
myself able to profit by none, except the astro- 
nomy, and a little of the Persian. The astrono- 
mical lecturer produced a terrestrial globe, divided 
according to their system, and elevated to the 
meridian of Benares. Mount Meru he identified 
with the north pole, and under the southern pole 
he supposed the tortoise "chukwa" to stand, on 
which the earth rests. The southern hemisphere 
he apprehended to be uninhabitable, but on its 
concave surface, in the interior of the globe, he 
placed Padalon. He then showed me how the 
sun went round the earth once in every day, and 
how, by a different but equally continuous mo- 
tion, he also visited the signs of the zodiac. The 
whole system is precisely that of Ptolemy, and 


the contrast was very striking between the rub- 
bish which these young men were learning in a 
government establishment and the rudiments of. 
real knowledge which those whom I had visited 
the day before had acquired, in the very same 
city, and under circumstances far less favourable. 
I was informed that it had been frequently pro- 
posed to introduce an English and mathematical 
class, and to teach the Newtonian and Copernican 
system of astronomy ; bat that the late superinten- 
dent of the establishment was strongly opposed to 
any innovation, partly on the plea that it would draw 
the boys off from their Sanskrit studies, and partly 
lest it should interfere with the religious preju- 
dices of the professors. The first of these argu- 
ments is pretty much like what was urged at 
Oxford (substituting Greek for Sanskrit) against 
the new examinations, by which, however, Greek 
has lost nothing. The second is plainly absurd, 
since the Ptolemaic system, which is now taught, 
is itself an innovation, and an improvement on 
the old faith of eight worlds and seven oceans, 
arranged like a nest of foxes." 

My readers may be surprised to hear that this 
college had been "completely re-organized* "four 

* Education Committee's Report, published in 1S31. 


years before by Professor Wilson, who went on 
deputation to Benares on purpose. But a re- 
form conducted on oriental principles, means 
exactly the reverse of what is usually understood 
by a reform. In this case, correctness can be ob- 
tained only at the expense of increased absurdity ; 
and the nearer we approach to the standard, 
the further we must depart from truth and 

In the passage first quoted, Bishop Heber calls 
attention to a paper sent to him by Ram Mohun 
Roy to be put into Lord Amherst's hands, " which 
for its good English, good sense, and forcible 
arguments, is a real curiosity as coming from an 
Asiatic." This paper was a remonstrance against 
the establishment of the Sanskrit college at Cal- 
cutta, which was founded by Lord Amherst, in 
imitation of the older institution at Benares, long 
after the natives had become awakened to the 
value of European instruction, and had instituted 
from their own funds, without any assistance from 
the government, the Hindu college at Calcutta 
and the English school at Benares described by 
Bishop Heber, for the purpose of securing for their 
children the benefit of such instruction. Ram 
Mohun Roy had the improvement of his country- 
men sincerely at heart, and he was sufficiently 


acquainted both with oriental and European lite- 
rature to be able to form a correct opinion of 
their relative value. His address to Lord Am- 
herst on this occasion deserves the eulogium be- 
stowed on it by Bishop Heber; and as it is quite 
to the point, I shall quote it entire. 

" To His Excellency the Right Honourable 
Lord Amherst, Governor General in 

" My Lord, 

" Humbly reluctant as the natives of India are 
to obtrude upon the notice of government the 
sentiments they entertain on any public measure, 
there are circumstances when silence would be 
carrying this respectful feeling to culpable excess. 
The present rulers of India, coming from a dis- 
tance of many thousand miles to govern a people 
whose language, literature, manners, customs, and 
ideas, are almost entirely new and strange to 
them, cannot easily become so intimately ac- 
quainted with their real circumstances as the 
natives of the country are themselves. We should 
therefore be guilty of a gross dereliction of duty 
to ourselves, and afford our rulers just ground of 
complaint at our apathy, did we omit on occasions 
of importance like the present to supply them 


with such accurate information as might enable 
them to devise and adopt measures calculated to 
be beneficial to the country, and thus second by 
our local knowledge and experience their decla- 
red benevolent intentions for its improvements, 

" The establishment of a new Sanskrit school in 
Calcutta evinces the laudable desire of Govern- 
ment to improve the natives of India by educa- 
tion, a blessing for which they must ever be 
grateful; and every well-wisher of the human race 
must be desirous that the efforts made to promote 
it should be guided by the most enlightened prin- 
ciples, so that the stream of intelligence may flow- 
in the most useful channels. 

" When this seminary of learning was proposed, 
we understood that the government in England 
had ordered a considerable sum of money to be 
annually devoted to the instruction of its Indian 
subjects. We were filled with sanguine hopes 
that this sum would be laid out in employing 
European gentlemen of talents and education to 
instruct the natives of India in mathematics, natu- 
ral philosophy, chemistry, anatomy, and other 
useful sciences, which the nations of Europe have 
carried to a degree of perfection that has raised 
them above the inhabitants of other parts of the 


While we looked forward with pleasing hope to 
the dawn of knowledge thus promised to the 
rising generation, our hearts were filled with 
mingled feelings of delight and gratitude; we 
already offered up thanks to Providence for in* 
spiring the most generous and enlightened na- 
tions of the West with the glorious ambition of 
planting in Asia the arts and sciences of modern 

" We find that the government are establishing 
a Sanskrit school under Hindu pundits, to impart 
such knowledge as is already current in India. 
This seminary (similar in character to those 
which existed in Europe before the time of Lord 
Bacon) can only be expected to load the minds of 
youth with grammatical niceties and metaphysical 
distinctions of little or no practical use to the 
possessors or to society. The pupils will there 
acquire what was known two thousand years ago, 
with the addition of vain and empty sub til ties 
since produced by speculative men, such as is 
already commonly taught in all parts of India. 

" The Sanskrit language, so difficult that 
almost a lifetime is necessary for its acquisition, 
is well known to have been for ages a lamentable 
check on the diffusion of knowledge; and the 
learning concealed under this almost impervious 


veil is far from sufficient to reward the labour of 
acquiring it But if it were thought necessary to 
perpetuate this language for the sake of the por- 
tion of valuable information it contains, this might 
be much more easily accomplished by other means 
than the establishment of a new Sanskrit college ; 
for there have been always and are now numerous 
professors of Sanskrit in the different parts of the 
country engaged in teaching this language as well 
as the other branches of literature which are to be 
the object of the new seminary. Therefore their 
more diligent cultivation, if desirable, would be 
effectually promoted by holding out premiums 
and granting certain allowances to their most 
eminent professors, who have already undertaken 
on their own account to teach them, and would 
by such rewards be stimulated to still greater 

" From these considerations, as the sum set 
apart for the instruction of the natives of India 
was intended by the government in England for 
the improvement of its Indian subjects, I beg 
leave to state, with due deference to your Lord- 
ship's exalted situation, that if the plan now 
adopted be followed, it will completely defeat the 
object proposed; since no improvement can be 
expected from inducing young men to consume a 


dozen of years of the most valuable period of their 
lives in acquiring the niceties of Byakaran or 
Sanskrit grammar. For instance, in learning to 
discuss such points as the following : khad, signi- 
fying to eat, khaduti, he or she or it eats ; query, 
whether does khaduti, taken as a whole, convey the 
meaning he, she, or it eats, or are separate parts 
of this meaning conveyed by distinctions of the 
word? As if in the English language it were 
asked, how much meaning is there in the eat, how 
much in the 5? and is the whole meaning of the 
word conveyed by these two portions of it dis- 
tinctly, or by them taken jointly ? 

" Neither can much improvement arise from 
such speculations as the following, which are the 
themes suggested by the Vedant : in what man- 
ner is the soul absorbed into the deity ? what re- 
lation does it bear to the divine essence ? Nor will 
youths be fitted to be better members of society 
by the vedantic doctrines, which teach them to 
believe that^all visible things have no real ex- 
istence ; that as father, brother, &c. have no actual 
entity, they consequently deserve no real affec- 
tion, and therefore the sooner we escape from 
them and leave the world the better. Again, no 
essential benefit can be derived by the student of 
the Mimangsa from knowing what it is that 


makes the killer of a goat sinless on pronouncing 
certain passages of the Vedant, and what is the 
real nature and operative influence of passages of 
the Vedas, &c. 

" The student of the Nyayushastra cannot be 
said to have improved his mind after he has 
learned from it into how many ideal classes the 
objects in the universe are divided, and what 
speculative relation the soul bears to the body, 
the body to the soul, the eye to the ear, &c. 

" In order to enable your Lordship to appreciate 
the utility of encouraging such imaginary learning 
as above characterized, I beg your Lordship will 
be pleased to compare the state of science and 
literature in Europe before the time of Lord Bacon 
with the progress of knowledge made since he 

" If it had been intended to keep the British 
nation in ignorance of real knowledge, the Baconian 
philosophy would not have been allowed to dis- 
place the system of the schoolmen, which was the 
best calculated to perpetuate ignorance. In the 
same manner the Sanskrit system of education 
would be the best calculated to keep this country 
in darkness, if such had been the policy of the 
British legislature. But as the improvement of 
the native population is the object of the govern- 


ment, it will consequently promote a more liberal 
and enlightened system of instruction ; embracing 
mathematics, natural philosophy, chemistry, ana- 
tomy, with other useful sciences, which may be 
accomplished with the sum proposed by employing 
a few gentlemen of talents and learning educated 
in Europe, and providing a college furnished with 
necessary books, instruments, and other apparatus. 
" In representing this subject to your Lordship 
I conceive myself discharging a solemn duty which 
I owe to my countrymen, and also to that en- 
lightened sovereign and legislature which have 
extended their benevolent care to this distant 
land, actuated by a desire to improve its inha- 
bitants, and therefore humbly trust you will 
excuse the liberty I have taken in thus expressing 
my sentiments to your Lordship. 

" I have the honour, &c. 
(Signed) RAM MOHUN ROY." 

This memorial was handed over by Lord 
Amherst to the education committee, and the fate 
it met with may be conjectured from the spine 
which then animated that body. The memorial 
remained unanswered, and the design of founding 
a new Sanskrit college was carried into execution. 

The opinion entertained on this subject by an 


Indian statesman of Sir Charles Metcalfe's estab- 
lished character and long practical experience 
cannot fail to be regarded with interest. He 
considers Sanskrit and Arabic books as mere 
"waste paper," as far as national education is 
concerned. His words are, "The government 
having resolved to discontinue, with some excep- 
tions, the printing of the projected editions of 
oriental works, a great portion of the limited educa- 
tion fund having hitherto been expended on similar 
publications to little purpose but to accumulate stores 
of waste paper, cannot furnish pecuniary aid to the 
society for the further printing of those works, 
but will gladly make over the parts already 
printed either to the Asiatic Society or to any 
society or individuals who may be disposed to 
complete the publication at their own expense." 
The Asiatic Society had applied to the govern- 
ment for funds to complete the printing of the 
oriental works which had been discontinued by 
the education committee, and this was the answer 
which was returned. In another part of this paper, 
Sir C. Metcalfe fully admits the valuable and laud- 
able nature of the pursuits in which the Asiatic 
Society was engaged, but he uses, as we have 
seen, the most emphatic language to express his 
sense of the unsuitableness of Arabic and Sanskrit 


folios for the enlightenment of the people, and the 
consequent impropriety of contributing towards 
the printing of them out of the limited fund 
which had been set apart for the purpose of 
national education. 

Both Sir Charles Metcalfe and Lord Auckland, 
who have presided over the administration of India 
since Lord William Bentinck's departure, have 
given their full and cordial support to the educa- 
tion committee in carrying into effect the plans of 
the last-mentioned nobleman. It is not likely that 
three such men should be mistaken on a point to 
which, from its important bearing on Indian in- 
terests, they must have given a large share of their 

The last authority to which I shall advert is 
the highest that can be had recourse to on Indian 
affairs. The Bengal government had reported 
certain measures adopted by it for the reform of 
the existing oriental colleges, and the establish- 
ment of the new Sanskrit college at Calcutta, and 
on the 18th February 1821 the court of directors, 

* Among other proofs of the sincere interest which the present 
Governor General takes in the subject, he has built at his own a prettily designed schoolhouse in the park at Barrack- 
poor ; and in this he has established a large English school, which 
he often visits, to watch the improvement and direct the studies 
of the pupils. 


with the sanction of the board of control, replied 
as follows : 

" The ends proposed in the institution of the 
Paras. 230 to 238; Hindu* college, and the same 

also letter, 10th March , ~> i n i ** 

I82i 3 paras.i53toi8o. J be affirmed of the Mo- 

S hainmedan, were two : the first, 

lege at Calcutta, and of to ma k e a favourable impres- 

the Hindu college at ^ r 

Benares, with measures sion, by our encouragement of 

adopted for their im- . 

provement, and estab- their literature, upon the minds 

lishment of a Hindu /? , i IT 7 

college at Calcutta, in of tne natives; and the second, 

to promote useful 
dea and Tirhoot. You acknowledge, that if the 

plan has had any effect of the former kind, it has 
had none of the latter; and you add, that c it 
must be feared that the discredit attaching to 
such a failure has gone far to destroy the influence 
which the liberality of the endowments would 
otherwise have had/ 

" We have from time to time been assured, that 
these colleges, though they had not till then been 
useful, were, in consequence of proposed arrange- 
ments, just about to become so; and we have 
received from you a similar prediction on the pre- 
sent occasion. 

* The new Sanskrit college at Calcutta is meant, as is evident 
from the Context, and from the abstract in the margin of the 
original dispatch. 


" We are by no means sanguine in our expec- 
tation, that the slight reforms which you have 
proposed to introduce will be followed by much 
improvement ; and we agree with you in certain 
doubts, whether a greater degree of activity, even 
if it were produced on the part of the masters, 
would, in present circumstances, be attended with 
the most desirable results. 

" With respect to the sciences, it is worse than 
a waste of time to employ persons either to teach 
or to learn them in the state in which they are 
found in the oriental books. As far as any his- 
torical documents may be found in the oriental 
languages, what is desirable is, that they should 
be translated ; and this, it is evident, will best be 
accomplished by Europeans who have acquired 
the requisite knowledge. Beyond these branches, 
what remains in oriental literature is poetry; but 
it never has been thought necessary to establish 
colleges for the cultivation of poetry, nor is it cer- 
tain that this would be the most effectual expedient 
for the attainment of the end. 

" In the meantime, we wish you to be fully 
apprized of our zeal for the progress and improve- 
ment of education among the natives of India, 
and of our willingness to make considerable sacri- 
fices to that important end, if proper means for 
E 2 


tlie attainment of it could be pointed out to us ; 
but we apprehend that the plan of the institutions, 
to the improvement of which our attention is now 
directed, was originally and fundamentally erro- 
neous. The great end should not have been to 
teach Hindu learning or Mohammedan learning, 
but useful learning. No doubt, in teaching useful 
learning to the Hindus or Mohammedans, Hindu 
media or Mohammedan media, as far as they were 
found the most effectual, would have been proper 
to be employed, and Hindu and Mohammedan 
prejudices would have needed to be consulted, 
while every thing which was useful in Hindu or 
Mohammedan literature it would have been proper 
to retain \ nor would there have been any insu- 
perable difficulty in introducing, under these re- 
servations, a system of instruction from which 
great advantage might have been derived. In 
professing, on the other hand, to establish semi- 
naries for the purpose of teaching mere Hindu 
or mere Mohammedan literature, you bound your- 
selves -to teach a great deal of what was frivolous, 
not a little of what was purely mischievous, and a 
small remainder, indeed, in which utility was in 
any way concerned, 

Si We think that you have taken, upon the 
whole, a rational view of what is best to be done* 


In the institutions which exist on a particular 
footing alterations should not be introduced more 
rapidly than a due regard to existing interests and 
feelings will dictate; at the same time that in- 
cessant endeavours should be used to supersede 
what is useless or worse in the present course of 
study by what your better knowledge will recom- 

" In the new college which is to be instituted, 
and which we think you have acted judiciously in 
placing at Calcutta, instead of Nuddea and Tir- 
hoot, as originally sanctioned, it will be much fur- 
ther in your power, because not fettered by any 
preceding practice, to consult the principle of 
utility in the course of study which you may pre- 
scribe. Trusting that the proper degree of atten- 
tion will be given to this important object, we 
desire that an account of the plan which you ap- 
prove may be transmitted to us, and that an 
opportunity of communicating to you our senti- 
ments upon it may be given to us, before any 
attempt to carry it into execution is made." 

This dispatch was referred to the education 
committee, who stated in reply, that in proposing 
the improvement of men's minds it is first neces- 
sary to secure their conviction that such improve- 
ment is desirable ; that tuition in European science 
E 3 


was neither amongst the sensible wants of the 
people, nor in the power of the government to 
bestow * ; that the maulavee and pundit, satisfied 
with their own learning, are little inquisitive as to 
anything beyond it, and are not disposed to regard 
the literature and science of the West as worth the 
labour of attainment; and that any attempt to 
enforce an acknowledgment of the superiority of 
the intellectual productions of the West could 
only create dissatisfaction. 

This brings us to the second point which we had 
to consider, namely, whether, supposing English 
literature to be best adapted for the improvement 
of the people of India, they are themselves ready 
to profit by the advantages which it holds out. If 
it can be proved that tuition in European science 
has become one of the sensible wants of the people, 
and that, so far from being satisfied with their own 
learning, they display an eager avidity to avail 
themselves of every opportunity of acquiring the 
knowledge of the West, it must be admitted that the 
case put by the committee of 1824 has occurred, 

This letter was dated on the 18th August 1824. Tho Hindu 
college was established in 1816, by the voluntary subscription of 
the natives themselves, for the purpose of instructing their youth 
in European science, for which no provision had at that time been 
made by the government. 



and that, according to their own rule, the time 
has arrived when instruction in western literature 
and science may be given on an extensive scale., 
without any fear of producing a reaction, 

The proofs that such is the actual state of things 
have been already touched upon. As the principle' 
of the school book society is, to print only such books 
as are in demand, and to dispose of them only to 
those who pay for them, its operations furnish, 
perhaps, the best test of the existing condition of 
public feeling in regard to the different systems 
of learning which are simultaneously cultivated in 
India. It appears, from their last printed report, 
that from January 1834 to December 1$)5 tho 
following sales were effected by them ; ~ 

English books - 81,049 
Anglo- Asiatic, or books partly 
in English and partly in some 

eastern language - - 4,535 

Bengalee - ~ . 5,754 

Hinduee - - - - 4,171 

Hindusthanee - tf,#S4 

Persian - ^454 

Ur *y a " 804 

Arabic g(j 

Sanskrit - - KJ 

3E 4 


Indeed, books in the learned native languages 
are such a complete drug in the market, that the 
school book society has for some time past ceased 
to print them ; and that society, as well as the edu- 
cation committee, has a considerable part of its 
capital locked up in Sanskrit and Arabic lore, 
which was accumulated during the period when 
the oriental mania carried every thing before it. 
Twenty-three thousand such volumes, most of 
them folios and quartos, filled the library, or 
rather the lumber room, of the education com- 
mittee at the time when the printing was put a 
stop to, and during the preceding three years their 
sale had not yielded quite one thousand rupees. 

At all the oriental colleges, besides being in- 
structed gratuitously, the students had monthly 
stipends allowed them, which were periodically 
augmented till they quitted the institution. At 
the English seminaries, not only was this expe- 
dient for obtaining pupils quite superfluous, but 
the native youth were ready themselves to pay for 
the privilege of being admitted. The average 
monthly collection on this account from the pupils 
of the Hindu college for February and March 
1836 was, sicca rupees, 1,325. Can there be more 
conclusive evidence of the real state of the demand 
than this ? The Hindu college is held under the 


same roof as the new Sanskrit college s at which 
thirty pupils were hired at 8 rupees each, and 
seventy at 5 rupees, or 590 rupees a month in all. 
The Hindu college was founded by the volun- 
tary contributions of the natives themselves as 
early as 1816. In 1831 the committee reported, 
that " a taste for English had been widely dissemi- 
nated, and independent schools conducted by 
young men reared in the Vidyalaya (the Hindu 
college) are springing up in every direction."* 
This spirit, gathering strength from time and 
from many favourable circumstances, had gained 
a great height in 1835; several rich natives had 
established English schools at their own expense ; 
associations had been formed for the same pur- 
pose at different places in the interior, similar to 
the one to which the Hindu college owed its 
origin. The young men who had finished their 
education propagated a taste for our literature, 
ana, partly as teachers of benevolent or pro- 
prietary schools, partly as tutors in private fami- 
lies, aided all classes in its acquirement. The 
tide had set in strongly in favour of English 
education, and when the committee declared 
itself on the same side, the public support they 

* The entire extract' will be found at page 8 
E 5 


received rather went beyondj than fell short of 
what was required. More applications were 
received for the establishment of schools than 
could be complied will i ; there were more candi- 
dates for admission to many of those which were 
established than conkl be accommodated. On 
the opening of the Hoogly college, in August 183C> 3 
students of English flocked to it in such numbers 
as to render the organization and classification 
of them a matter of difficulty. Twelve hundred 
names were entered on the books of this depart- 
ment of the college within three days, and at the 
end of the year there were upwards of one thou- 
sand in regular attendance. The Arabic and 
Persian classes of the institution at the same time 
mustered less than two hundred There appears 
to be no limit to the number of scholars, except 
that of the number of teachers whom the com- 
mittee is able to provide. Notwithstanding the 
extraordinary concourse of English students at 
Hoogly, the demand was so little exhausted, that 
when an auxiliary school was lately opened within 
two miles of the college, the English department of it 
was instantly filled, and numerous applicants were 
sent away unsatisfied. In the same way, when 
additional means of instruction were provided at 
Dacca, the number of pupils rose at once from 


150 to upwards of 300, and more teachers were 
still called for. The same thing also took place 
at Agra. These are not symptoms of a forced 
and premature effort, which, as the committee 
of 1824 justly observed, would have recoiled 
upon ourselves, and have retarded our ultimate 

To sum up what has been said: the Hindu 
system of learning contains so much truth as to 
have raised the nation to its present point of civi- 
lization, and to have kept it there for ages without 
retrogading, and so much error as to have pre- 
vented it from making any sensible advance 
during the same long period. Under this system, 
history is made up of fables, in which the learned 
in vain endeavour to trace the thread of authentic 
narrative ; its medicine is quackery ; its geo- 
graphy and astronomy are monstrous absurdity; 
its law is composed of loose contradictory maxims, 
and barbarous and ridiculous penal provisions; 
its religion is idolatry; its morality is such as 
might be expected from the example of the gods 
and the precepts of the religion. Suttee, Thug- 
gee, human sacrifices, Ghaut murder, religious 
suicides, and other such excrescences of Hin- 
duism, are either expressly enjoined by it, or are 
directly deduced from the principles inculcated by 
E 6 


it. This whole system of sacred and profane 
learning is knitted and bound together by tl it- 
sanction of religion; every part of it is an article 
of faith, and its science is as unchangeable as its 
divinity. Learning is confined by it to the Brah- 
mins, the high priests of the system, by whom 
and for whom it was devised. All the other 
classes are condemned to perpetual ignorance and 
dependence; their appropriate occupations are 
assigned by the laws of caste, and limits art* fixed, 
beyond which no personal merit or personal good 
fortune can raise them. The peculiar wonder of 
the Hindu system is, not that it contains so much 
or so little true knowledge, but that it has been 
so skilfully contrived for arresting the progress of 
the human mind, as to exhibit it at the end of 
two thousand years fixed at nearly the precise 
point at which it was first moulded. The Mo- 
hammedan system of learning is many degrees 
better, and " resembles that which existed among 
the nations of Europe before the invention of 
printing;" * so far does even this fall short of the 

* These are the words in which Mr. Adam um* up bin (taacrijt.. 
tion of Mohammedan learning in India ; and tint' real itjtttt of the 
ease could not be more accurately described. Gibbon's kkt'tch <f 
Moslem learning will be found in the 52d chapter of tho Dtnjlliw ami 
Fall of the Roman Empire, under the heads, Thdr roal prognw 
in the sciences," and Want of erudition, twte, and freedom," Bui 


knowledge with which Europe is now blessed. 
These are the systems under the influence of 
which the people of India have become what they 
are. They have been weighed in the balance, 
and have been found wanting. To perpetuate 
them, is to perpetuate the degradation and misery 
of the people. Our duty is not to teach, but to 
unteach them, not to rivet the shackles which 
have for ages bound down the minds of our sub- 
jects, but to allow them to drop off by the lapse 
of time and the progress of events. 

If we turn from Sanskrit and Arabic learning, 
and the state of society which has been formed by 
it, to western learning, and the improved and still 
rapidly improving condition of the western nations, 
what a different spectacle presents itself! Through 
the medium of England, India has been brought 
into the most intimate connection with this fa- 

however defective Arabian learning may appear when viewed by 
the light of modern science, it would be doing great injustice to 
the Augustan age of the caliphs at Bagdad to compare it with the 
present cera of Mohammedan literature in India. The Indian 
Mohammedans are only bad imitators of an erroneous system. 
Arabic is studied at Calcutta as a difficult foreign language ; 
original genius and research have long since died out, if they 
ever had any existence, among this class of literary people in 
India ; and the astronomy of Ptolemy and the medicine of Galen 
are languidly transmitted by the dogmatic teachers of one gene- 
ration to the patient disciples of the next. 


voured quarter of the globe, and the particular 
claims of the English language as an instrument 
of Indian improvement have thus become a point 
of paramount importance. These claims have 
been thus described by one who will be admitted 
to have made good his title to an opinion on the 
subject : 

" How then stands the case ? We have to edu- 
cate a people who cannot at present be educated 
by means of their mother tongue; we must teach 
them some foreign language. The claims of our 
own language it is hardly necessary to recapi- 
tulate; it stands pre-eminent even among the 
languages of the West; it abounds with works of 
imagination not inferior to the noblest which 
Greece has bequeathed to us; with models of 
every species of eloquence ; with historical com- 
positions which, considered merely as narratives 
have seldom been surpassed, and which, con- 
sidered as vehicles of ethical and political in- 
struction, have never been equalled; with just 
and lively representations of human life and 
human nature; with the most profound specu- 
lations on metaphysics, morals, government, juris- 
prudence, trade; with full and correct informa- 
tion respecting every experimental science which 
tends to preserve the health, to increase the com- 


fort, or to expand the intellect of man. Whoever 
knows that language has ready access to all the 
vast intellectual wealth which all the wisest nations 
of the earth have created and hoarded in the 
course of ninety generations. It may safely be 
said that the literature now extant in that lan- 
guage is of far greater value than all the litera- 
ture which three hundred years ago was extant in 
all the languages of the world together. Nor is 
this all : in India English is the language spoken 
by the ruling class ; it is spoken by the higher 
class of natives at the seats of government; it is 
likely to become the language of commerce 
throughout the seas of the East; it is the lan- 
guage of two great European communities which 
are rising, the one in the south of Africa, the other 
in Austral-Asia, communities which are every 
year becoming more important and more closely 
connected with our Indian Empire. Whether we 
look at the intrinsic value of our literature, or at 
the particular situation of this country, we shall 
see the strongest reason to think that, of all 
foreign tongues, the English tongue is that which 
would be the most useful to our native subjects." 
As of all existing languages and literatures the 
English is the most replete with benefit to the 


human race, so it is overspreading the earth with 
a rapidity far exceeding any other. With a partial 
exception in Canada, English is the language ol 
the continent of America north of Mexico ; and 
at the existing rate of increase there will be a 
hundred millions of people speaking English in 
the United States alone at the end of this century. 
In the West India islands we have given our 
language to a population collected from various 
parts of Africa, and by this circumstance* alone 
they have been brought many centuries nearer to 
civilization than their countrymen in Africa., who 
may for ages grope about in the dark, destitute of 
any means of acquiring true religion and science. 
Their dialect is an uncouth perversion of English 
suited to the present crude state of their ideas, 
but their literature will be the literature of Eng- 
land, and their language will gradually be conformed 
to the same standard. More recently the English 
language has taken root in the continent of Africa 
itself, and a nation is being formed by means of 
it in the extensive territory belonging to the Cape 
out of a most curious mixture of different races, 
But the scene of its greatest triumphs will be iu 
Asia. To the south a new continent is being 
peopled with the English race ; to the north, an 


ancient people, who have always taken the lead in 
the progress of religion and science in the east, 
have adopted the English language as their lan- 
guage of education, by means of which they are 
becoming animated by a new spirit, and are en- 
tering at once upon the improved knowledge of 
Europe, the fruit of the labour and invention 
of successive ages. The English language, not 
many generations hence, will be spoken by millions 
in all the four quarters of the globe; and our 
learning, our morals, our principles of constitu- 
tional liberty, and our religion, embodied in the 
established literature, and diffused through the 
genius of the vernacular languages, will spread far 
and wide among the nations. 

The objection, therefore, to the early proceed- 
ings of the education committee is, that they were 
calculated to produce a revival, not of sound 
learning, but of antiquated and pernicious errors. 

* The Buddhist religion, which originated in Behar, has spread 
to the furthest extremity of China, and the intervening nations 
have always been accustomed to regard India as the fountain-head 
both of learning and religion. Thibetan literature is a translation 
from Sanskrit, and the vernacular language of Behar is the sacred 
language of Burmali and the adjoining countries. It may be 
hoped that India will hereafter become the centre of a purer 
faith. The innumerable islands of the South must also be power- 
fully acted upon by Austral- Asia, which has been wonderfully 
reserved to be erected at once into a civilized and powerful country 
in the darkest region of eastern barbarism. 


The pupils in the oriental seminaries were trained 
in a complete course of Arabic and Sanskrit 
learning, including the theology of the Vedas and 
the Koran, and were turned out accomplished 
maulavees and pundits, the very class whom the 
same committee described as "satisfied with their 
own learning, little inquisitive as to any thing 
beyond it, and not disposed to regard the litera- 
ture and science of the West as worth the labour 
of attainment" And having been thus educated, 
they were sent to every part of the country to fill 
the most important situations which were open to 
the nativesj the few who could not be provided 
for in this way taking service as private tutors or 
family priests. Every literary attempt connected 
with the old learning at the same time received 
the most liberal patronage, and the country was 
deluged with Arabic and Sanskrit books. By 
acting thus, the committee created the very evil 
which they professed to fear. They established 
great corporations, with ramifications in every dis- 
trict, the feelings and interest of whose members 
were deeply engaged on the side of the prevailing 
errors. All the murmuring which has been heard 
has come from this quarter; all the opposition 
which has been experienced has been headed by 
persons supported by our stipends, and trained in 


our colleges. The money spent on the Arabic 
and Sanskrit colleges was, therefore, not merely a 
dead loss to the cause of truth; it was bounty 
money paid to raise up champions of error, and to 
call into being an oriental interest which was 
bound by the condition of its existence to stand 
in the front of the battle against the progress of 
European literature. 

In the five districts named in the margin, one 
of which contains the former Moham- Murshedabad, 


medan capital " of Bengal, Mr. Adam Burd, 
found only 158 students of Arabic Tirhoot. 
learning. In the single government college 
of Calcutta there are 114 students. Although 
supported and patronised by the British govern- 
ment, this college differs in no respect from the 
Mohammedan colleges at Constantinople and 
Bokhara. It is as completely a seminary of 
genuine unmitigated Mohammedanism as the 
Jesuits' college at Rome is a seminary of Roman 
Catholicism. It is considered by the Moslems as 
the head quarters of their religion in Bengal, and 
it has made Calcutta the radiating centre, not 
of civilization, as it ought only to be, but, to a 
lamentable extent, of bigotry and error. 

The Sanskrit college was a still more desperate 



attempt to reproduce the feelings and habits of 
thought of past ages in the midst of a compara- 
tively enlightened community. By establishing 
the Hindu college at their own expense, the 
Hindus had seven years before given a decisive 
proof that it was instruction in English and not 
in Sanskrit which they required. But, in spite of 
this evidence, the act with which we signalised the 
commencement of our educational operations was 
the establishment of a Brahminical college, in 
which false science and false religion are sys- 
tematically taught, in which the priestly domina- 
tion and monopoly of learning are maintained 
both by practice *~and precept, and the members 
of which, although they reside at the head quar- 
ters of British Indian civilization, are always 
present in spirit with the founders of the Hindu 
system, with whom they daily converse, and to 
whose age they really belong. Can we wonder 
that the young men educated at such a seminary 
are, according to their own confession, burdens to 
the public, and objects of contempt to their coun- 
trymen? It might have, succeeded if it had been 
established a thousand years ago; but the institii- 

* None but Brahmins and a fe* persons of the medical caste 
are admitted to study at this institution. 


tions of a barbarous age will not satisfy a people 
whose eyes have been opened, and who are craving 
after true knowledge. 

After the committee had confessed that " a taste 
for English had been widely disseminated, and 
independent schools, conducted by young men 
reared in the Hindu college, were springing up 
in every direction *," it might have been expected 
that they would have modified their plan of pro- 
ceeding. It was admitted, that to give instruction 
in European science was their ultimate object; it 
also appears from their report that this was the 
only part of their operations which was propa- 
gating itself, and proceeding with an independent 
spring of action; why, therefore, was scope not 
given to it? 

For some time after this, however, we continued 
to prop up barbarism by the power of civilization, 
and to avail ourselves of the enormous influence 
of the English government to press on the people 
decayed and noxious systems, which they them- 
selves rejected* That we did not succeed in 
giving to those systems a more effectual impulse 
was not owing to any want of exertion on our 

* See the whole extract at page 8. 


part. We pushed them as far or farther than 
they would go, and it was only because the natives 
would not buy the books printed by us, or read 
them without being paid to do so, that a change 
was at last resolved on. 


Objections answered. Construction of the Charter Act 
of 1813 Change in the Employment of the public 
Endowments for thl Encouragement of Learning. 
Abolition of Stipends, Probability of the Natives 
being able to prosecute the Study of English with 
effect. The alleged Necessity of cultivating Arabic 
and Sanskrit for the sake of improving the vernacular 
^Languages. The Plan of employing Maulavees and 
Pundits as our Agents for the Propagation of Eu- 
ropean Science. Whether or not it is our Duty to 
patronise the same Kind of Learning as our Prede- 

I SHALL now proceed to reply, with as much 
brevity as circumstances will admit, to the ob- 
jections which have been urged to the change in 
the committee's plan of operation made in accord- 
ance with the resolution of the Indian govern- 
ment, dated the 7th March 1835; and as my 
object is not to write a book of my own, but to 
put this important subject, once for all, in a clear 
point of view, I shall continue to avail myself of 
the writings of others whenever they express what 
I have to say better than I could express it myself* 


The heads of objection will be taken from an 
article by Professor Wilson, entitled " Education 
of the Natives of India," published in the Asiatic 
Journal for January 1836, which contains the most 
complete statement which has yet appeared of all 
that can be said on the oriental side of the 

The first in order relates to the construction of 
that part of the charter act of 1813 by which a lac 
of rupees a year was assigned for the education of 
the natives of India. The opponents of our 
present plan of proceeding contend that it was 
not the intention of parliament, in making this 
assignment, to encourage the cultivation of sound 
learning and true principles of science, but to 
bring about a revival of the antiquated and false 
learning of the shasters, which had fallen into 
neglect in consequence of the cessation of the 
patronage which had in ancient times been ex- 
tended to it by the native Hindu princes. To 
this argument the following reply has been 
made : 

" It does not appear to me that the act of parlia- 
ment can by any art of construction be made to 
bear the meaning which has been assigned to it. 
It contains nothing about the particular lan- 
guages or sciences which are to be studied. A 


sum is set apart c for the revival and promotion 
of literature, and the encouragement of the 
learned natives of India, and for the introduction 
and promotion of a knowledge of the sciences 
among the inhabitants of the British territories.' 
It is argued, or rather taken for granted, that by 
literature the parliament can have meant only 
Arabic and Sanskrit literature; that they never 
would have given the honourable appellation of a 
c learned native' to a native who was familiar with 
the poetry of Milton, the metaphysics of Locke, 
and the physics of Newton ; but that they meant 
to designate by that name only such persons as 
might have studied in the sacred books of the 
Hindus all the uses of Cusa-grass, and all the 
mysteries of absorption into the deity. This does 
not appear to be a very satisfactory interpretation. 
To take a parallel case : suppose that the pacha of 
Egypt, a country once superior in knowledge to 
the nations of Europe, but now sunk far below 
them, were to appropriate a sum for the purpose 
of c reviving and promoting literature, and encou- 
raging learned natives of Egypt,' would anybody 
infer that he meant the youth of his pachalic to 
give years to the study of hieroglyphics, to search 
into all the doctrines disguised under the fable of 
Osiris, and to ascertain with all possible accuracy 


the ritual with which cats and onions were an- 
ciently adored? Would he be justly charged with 
inconsistency if, instead of employing his young 
subjects in deciphering obelisks, he were to order 
them to be instructed in the English and French 
languages, and in all the sciences to which those 
languages are the chief keys ? 

" The words on which the supporters of the old 
system rely do not bear them out, and other words 
follow which seem to be quite decisive on the 
other side. This lac of rupees is set apartj not 
only for c reviving literature in India,' the phrase 
on which their whole interpretation is founded, 
but also c for the introduction and promotion of a 
knowledge of the sciences among the inhabitants 
of the British territories,' words which are alone 
sufficient to authorize all the changes for which I 

Both the court of directors and the Indiaji 
government took this view of the subject at the 
period when measures were first taken to carry 
the intentions of the British parliament into 
effect, and those intentions were certainly likely 
to have been better understood at that time than at 
any subsequent period. The Indian government- 
ill their instructions to the committee appointed 
to administer the funds made no allusion to the 


supposed necessity for reviving oriental literature. 
On the contrary, they stated the objects for which 
the committee had been appointed to be "the 
better instruction of the people, the introduction 
of useful knowledge, including the arts and 
sciences of Europe, and the improvement of their 
moral character," objects with which the learning 
of the shasters and the Koran, which it was 
afterwards proposed to revive, are at complete 
variance. The court of directors in their dis- 
patch written about the same period are still 
more explicit. They emphatically state that " it 
is worse than a waste of time to employ persons 
either to teach or to learn the sciences in the 
state in which they are found in oriental books;" 
that "the great end should not have been to 
teach Hindu learning or Mohammedan learning, 
but useful learning;' 7 and that, in establishing 
seminaries for the purpose of teaching mere 
Hindu or mere Mohammedan literature, the 
Indian government bound themselves " to teach a 
great deal of what was frivolous, not a little of 
what was purely mischievous, and a small remain- 
der indeed in which utility was in any way con- 
cerned." But meanwhile the administration of 
the fund had fallen into the hands of persons 
devoted to oriental studies, party zeal was excited, 
F 2 


and the ingenuity of several able men was tasked 
to the utmost to defend a course of proceeding 
which had been adopted in spite of the declared 
sentiments of the court of directors and of com- 
mon sense. 

It was urged, in the next place, that it was 
downright spoliation to alter the appropriation of 
any of the funds which had previously been spent 
by the government in encouraging the study of 
Sanskrit and Arabic, but which were now direc- 
ted to be employed in teaching English under the 
restrictions contained in the resolution of the 
7th March 1835. To this it was replied that 
" the grants which are made from the public 
purse for the encouragement of literature differ in 
no respect from the grants which are made from 
the same purse for other objects of real or sup- 
posed utility. We found a sanatarium on a spot 
which we suppose to be healthy : da we thereby 
pledge ourselves to keep a sanatarium there, if the 
result should not answer our expectations ? We 
commence the erection of a pier : is it a violation 
of the public faith to stop the work, if we after- 
wards see reason to believe that the building will 
be useless ? The rights of property are undoubt- 
edly sacred ; but nothing endangers those rights 
so much as the practice, now unhappily too com- 


mon, of attributing them to things to which they 
do not belong. Those who would impart to abuses 
the sanctity of property are in truth imparting to 
the institution of property the unpopularity and 
the fragility of abuses. If the government has 
given to any person a formal assurance, nay, if 
the government has excited in any person's mind 
a reasonable expectation, that he shall receive a 
certain income as a teacher or a learner of San- 
skrit or Arabic, I would respect that person's pe- 
cuniary interests. I would rather err on the side 
of liberality to individuals than suffer the public 
faith to be called in question. But to talk of a 
government pledging itself to teach certain lan- 
guages and certain sciences, though those lan- 
guages, may become useless, though those sciences 
may be exploded, seems to me quite unmeaning. 
There is not a single word in any public instru- 
ment from which it can be inferred that the 
Indian government ever intended to give any 
pledge on this subject, or ever considered the des- 
tination of these funds as unalterably fixed. But, 
had it been otherwise, I should have denied the 
competence of our predecessors to bind us by any 
pledge on such a subject. Suppose that a govern- 
ment had in the last century enacted, in the most 
solemn manner, that all its subjects should to the 
F 3 


end of time be inoculated for the small-pox; would 
that goverment be bound to persist in the prac- 
tice after Jenner's discovery? These promises, 
of which nobody claims the performance, and from 
which nobody can grant a release ; these vested 
rights which vest in nobody ; this property with- 
out proprietors \ this robbery which makes nobody 
poorer, may be comprehended by persons of 
higher faculties than mine. I consider this plea 
merely as a set form of words, regularly used both 
in England and in India in defence of every abuse 
for which no other plea can be set up." All the pri- 
vate endowments which have at different times been 
placed under the management of the education 
committee are administered with a strict regard 
to the intentions of the founders. A large sum of 
money, for instance, left by a late minister of the 
king of Lucknow, which was originally appro- 
priated to the use of the oriental college at Delhi, 
continues to be applied to the support of oriental 
literature in that institution. 

Another objection which has been made is, that 
the abolition of the stipends formerly given to 
students will exclude the sons of learned men who 
are in indigent circumstances, as well as those of 
all persons living at a distance from the govern- 
ment colleges, the advantages of which will thus 


be confined to the capital and to one or two great 

To this I answer, that, instead of two or three, 
there are already forty institutions scattered 
throughout the country; that the means of ob- 
taining a liheral education have thus been brought 
into everybody's own neighbourhood; and that 
the number of young men belonging to every class 
of society, and to every part of the Bengal pro- 
vinces, who now profit by our seminaries, neces- 
sarily greatly exceeds what used to be the case 
under the plan of having a few expensive colleges 
at which the students as well as teachers received 
salaries. Hundreds of boys are now cultivating 
our literature in Assam, Arrakan, Tenasserim, 
and other frontier provinces, which did not send 
a single student to the colleges at Calcutta and 

In India poverty is not the only obstacle to the 
education of children at a distance from their 
parents. The means of communication from place 
to place are slow and inconvenient; a journey of 
one or two hundred miles appears to a native the 
same formidable undertaking that it did to our 
ancestors in the time of Queen Elizabeth; and, 
above all, the mutual confidence which leads Eng- 
lishmen to trust the entire management of their 
F 4 


children to persons whom they often know only 
by reputation. Is at a very low ebb in India. No 
native who could afford to give his son an edu- 
cation of any sort at home would think of sending 
him to be brought up among strangers. It was 
once proposed to educate the public wards at Cal- 
cutta, where the government itself would have 
had proper care taken of them, but the relations 
of the wards so unanimously and decidedly ob- 
jected to the plan that it was at once abandoned. 
They had no objection, however, to their being 
educated under the superintendence of the go- 
vernment officers at their own provincial towns, 
with which they are in almost daily communi- 
cation, and at which the young men might have 
resided, often in their own town houses, under 
the care of the old servants of the family. Be- 
sides this, the colleges under the stipendiary sys- 
tem were regarded by all classes as charitable 
institutions ; and this alone would have prevented 
the native gentry from sending their sons to them, 
They were filled with the children of indigent 
persons, a very small proportion of whom came 
from a distance ; and these last, even if they had 
learned any thing worth communicating, which 
they did not, would have been too few, too un in- 
fluential) and too much isolated from the rest of 


the community, to be able to induce 
1 . . - 

their countrymen to participate in their dp 

The animating and civilizing influence arising 
from the neighbourhood of a large seminary, and 
the daily intercourse of the people with its nu- 
merous scholars, and the tendency which this has 
to interest the public in the subject of education, 
and to lead to the establishment of new institu- 
tions, was too partial under the stipendiary system 
to have any practical effect. Even if the education 
given had been of a kind calculated to enlighten 
the people, instead of confirming them in their 
errors, it would have taken ages to make an im- 
pression on the immense population of western 
India by such means as these. 

If any class of persons be favoured by the plan 
which has now been adopted, it is those who are 
able and willing .to learn, and who are in a situ- 
ation to induce others to follow their example. 
If any be excluded, it is those who used to come 
to obtain food, not for the mind, but for the body, 
and who were too poor to be able to pursue their 
studies in after life. So long as we offer instruc- 
tion only, ,we may be sure that none but willing 
students will attend; but if we offer money in 
addition to instruction, it becomes impossible to 
F 5 


say for the sake of which they attend These 
bounties on learning are the worst of bounties; 
they draw to a particular line a greater number 
of persons than that line would, without artificial 
encouragement, attract, or than the state of society 
requires. They also paralyze exertion. A person 
who does not want to learn a particular language 
or science is tempted to commence the study by 
the stipend; as soon as he has got the stipend 
he has no motive for zealously prosecuting the 
study. Sluggishness, mediocrity, absence of spi- 
rited exertion, and resistance to all improvemen 
are the natural growth of this system. 

It is also of particular importance in such a 

country as India, and on such a subject as popular 

education, that the government should have some 

certain test of the wishes of its subject*?. As long 

as stipends were allowed, students would of course 

have been forthcoming. Now the people must 

decide for themselves. Every facility is given, but 

no bribes; and if more avail themselves of one 

kind of instruction than of another, we may be 

sure that it is because such is the real bent of the 

public mind But for the abolition of stipends, 

false systems might have been persevered in from 

generation to generation, which, with an appear- 


ance of popularity, would really have been pre- 
served from falling into disuse only by the patron- 
age of government. 

The result of the experiment has been most 
satisfactory. Formerly we kept needy boys in 
pay, to train them up to be bigoted maulavees 
and pundits; now multitudes of the upper and 
middle classes flock to our seminaries to learn, 
without fee or reward, all that English literature 
can teach them. The practice of giving stipends 
to students was part of the general system by 
which learning was confined to particular castes ; 
this monopoly has now been broken down, and 
all are invited to attend who are really anxious to 
learn. Where formerly we paid both teachers 
and students, we now only pay the teachers ; and 
our means of extending our operations have been 
proportionably increased ; yet, so great is the de- 
mand for teachers, that if we could only increase 
their number at will, we might have almost any 
number of students. 

It is constantly urged by the advocates of 
oriental learning that the result of all our efforts 
will only be to extend a smattering of English 
throughout India, and that the question is be- 
tween a profound knowledge of Sanskrit and 
Arabic literature on the one side, and a super- 
F 6 


ficial knowledge of the rudiments of English on 
the other. 

Nothing can be more groundless than this 
assumption. The medical pupils who were de- 
clared by Mr. Prinsep to have passed as good an 
examination for the time they had attended lec- 
tures as any class of pupils in Europe, acquired 
their knowledge entirely from English books 
and lectures delivei*ed in English. Neither wore 
these picked boys; they principally came from 
Mr. Hare's preparatory school, and from the second 
and third classes of the Hindu college, and they 
were therefore below the standard of those who 
go through the whole course of instruction at our 
principal seminaries. 

In their report published in 1831 the com- 
mittee? speaking of the Hindu college*, observe : 
"The consequence has surpassed expectation; a 
command of the English language and a famili- 
arity with its literature and science have been 
acquired to an extent rarely equalled by any 
schools in Europe." * Such having been the re- 
sult at the Hindu college, what is there to pre- 
vent our being equally successful in the more 
recently established seminaries? The same class 

* The whole extract will be found at page 8. 


of youth have to be instructed ; the same desire 
exists on the part of the committee to give them 
a really good education ; we have the same means 
at our disposal for accomplishing that object A 
single show institution at the capital, to be always 
exhibited and appealed to as a proof of their zeal 
in the cause of liberal education, might answer very 
well, as far as the committee themselves are con- 
cerned; but what are the people of the interior to 
.do, to whom this education would be equally use- 
ful, and who are equally capable of profiting by- 
it? For their sake the committee have now 
established many Hindu colleges. 

English is a much easier language than either 
Arabic or Sanskrit. " The study of Sanskrit 
grammar," Mr. Adam observes, " occupies about 
seven years, lexicology about two, literature about 
ten, law about ten, logic about thirteen, and my- 
thology about four." The course of study fixed 
for the Sanskrit college at Calcutta by Professor 
Wilson embraces twelve years, the first six of 
which are spent in learning grammar and compo- 
sition ; besides which, the boys are expected to 
know something of grammar before they are ad- 
mitted. In three years boys of ordinary abilities 
get such a command of the English language as 


to be able to acquire every sort of information by 
means of it. The Sanskrit is altogether a dead 
language. The Arabic is not spoken in India. 
The English is both a living and a spoken lan- 
guage.* The Bralimmical and Moslem systems 
belong to bygone days; a large portion of them 
has become obsolete ; a still larger is only faintly 
reflected in the habits of the people. The asso- 
ciations connected with the new learning, on the 
other hand, are gaining ground every day. The 
English government is established; English prin- 
ciples and institutions are becoming familiarised 
to the native mind; English words are extensively 
adopted into the native languages; teachers, books, 
and schools are rapidly multiplied; the improve- 
ments in the art of education, the result of the 
extraordinary degree of attention which the subject 
has received of late years in England, are all applied 
to facilitate the study of English in India. In- 
fant schools, which have lately been introduced, 
will enable native children to acquire our lan- 
guage, without any loss of time, as they learn to 
speak. Nine years ago, when the first English 

* The familiar use of a living language m iw lulviuiUgc which 
the teachers of Lathi and Greek, as well an those of Sanskrit and 
Arabic, might envy. 


class was established in the upper provinces*, a 
few old fashioned English spelling books were with 
difficulty procured from the neighbouring stations. 
Nine years hence it is probable that an English 
education will be every where more cheaply and 
easily obtained than an Arabic or Sanskrit one. 
It is an error to anticipate the march of events, 
but it is not less so to neglect to watch their pro- 
gress, and to be perpetually judging the existing 
state of things by a standard which is applicable 
only to past times. " This, too, will acquire the 
authority of time ; and what we now defend by pre- 
cedents will itself be reckoned among precedents." 
Native children seem to have their faculties 
developed sooner, and to be quicker and more 
self-possessed than English children. Even when 
the language of instruction is English, the English 
have no advantage over their native class-fellows. 
As far as capability of acquiring knowledge is 
concerned, the native mind leaves nothing to be 
desired. The faculty of learning languages is 
particularly powerful in it It is unusual to find, 
even in the literary circles of the Continent, 
foreigners who can express themselves in English 
with so much fluency and correctness as we find 
in hundreds of the rising generation of Hindus. 

* At Delhi. 


Readiness in acquiring languages, which exists in 
such a strong degree in children, seems to exist 
also in nations which are still rising to manhood. 
No people speak foreign languages like the Russians 
and Hindus. Such nations are going through a 
course of imitation, and those qualities of mind 
upon which their success depends seem to be pro- 
portionably developed. 

When we go beyond this point to the higher 
and more original powers of the mind, judgment, 
reflection, and invention, it is not so easy to pro- 
nounce an opinion. It has been said, that native 
youth fall behind at the age at which these fa- 
culties begin most to develope themselves in Eng- 
lishmen. But this is the age when the young 
Englishman generally commences another and 
far more valuable education, consisting in the pre- 
paration for, and practice of some profession re- 
quiring severe application of mind ; when he has 
the highest honours and emoluments opened to 
his view as the reward of his exertions, and when t 
he begins to profit by his daily intercourse with a 
cultivated intellectual, and moral society. In- 
stead of this, the native youth falls back on the 
ignorant and depraved mass of his countrymen ; 
and, till lately, so far from being stimulated to 
further efforts, he was obliged to ask himself for 


what end he had hitherto laboured. Every avenue 
to distinction was shut against him; and his acquire- 
ments served only to manifest the full extent of his 
degraded position. The best test of what they 
can do, is what they have done. Their ponderous 
and elaborate grammatical systems, their wonder- 
fully subtle metaphysical disquisitions, show them 
to have a German perseverance and Greek acute- 
ness ; and they certainly have not failed in poetical 
composition. What may we not expect from these 
powers of mind, invigorated by the cultivation of 
true science, and directed towards worthy objects ! 
The English, like the Hindus, once wasted their 
strength on the recondite parts of school learning. 
All that we can say with certainty is, that the 
Hindus are excellent students, and have learned 
well up to the point to which their instructors 
have as yet conducted them. A new career is now 
opened to them : the stores of European know- 
ledge have been placed at their disposal : a cul- 
^ivated society of their own is growing up : their 
activity is stimulated by the prospect of honourable 
and lucrative employment. It will be seen what 
the next fifty years will bring forth. 

To return to the point from which I have di- 
gressed; it is true, that a smattering of English 
formerly prevailed to a considerable extent, without 


any beneficial result ; and that English acquire- 
ments were held in great contempt. The go- 
vernment then encouraged nothing but Oriental 
learning; and English, instead of being culti- 
vated as a literary and scientific language, was 
abandoned to menial servants and dependents, who 
hoped by means of it to make a profit of the ig- 
norance of their masters. It was first rescued from 
this state of degradation by Lord William Bentinek 
who made it the languageof diplomatic correspond- 
ence. It was afterwards publicly recognised us 
the most convenient channel, through which the 
upper and middle classes of the native** could ob- 
tain access to the knowledge of the West; and 
many very good seminaries were established, to 
enable them to acquire it. The prejudice against 
English has now disappeared, and to know it, has 
become a distinction to which people of all classes 
aspire. There can be no doubt therefore of our now 
being able to make a deep and permanent impres- 
sion on the Hindu nation through thin medium, 
if sufficient means of instruction are provided 

Another argument urged for teaching Arabic and 
Sanskrit is, that they are absolutely necessary for 

* Translations are sent, with the Governor- Guncrttl'* letters, to 
the native princes, when there is any doubt as to U?ir being un- 


the improvement of the vernacular dialects. The 
latter, it is said, are utterly incapable of represent- 
ing European ideas ; and the natives must therefore 
have recourse to the congenial, accessible, and in- 
exhaustible stores of their classical languages. To 
adopt English phraseology would be grotesque 
patchwork ; and the condemnation of the classical 
languages to oblivion, would consign the dialects 
to utter helplessness and irretrievable barbarism. 
The experience both of the East and West de- 
monstrates, that the difficulty which this argument 
supposes never can exist. If the national lan- 
guage can easily express any new idea which is 
introduced from abroad, a native term is usually 
adopted. But, if not, the word, as well as the 
meaning, are imported together from the same 
fountain of supply. This is the ordinary process ; 
but the supply of words is not always limited to 
the strict measure of our wants. Languages are 
amplified and refined by scholars, who naturally 
introduce the foreign words with which their minds 
are charged, and which, from their being in the 
habit of using them, appear to them to be more 
expressive than any other. Hence that wealth 
of words, that choice of verbal signs, some of do- 
mestic and others of foreign origin ; some borrowed 
from cognate, and others from radically different 


sources, which characterises the languages of the 
modern civilised nations. The naturalisation of 
foreign knowledge is, no doubt, a task of some 
difficulty; hut history proves that as fast as it can 
he introduced, words are found in more than suf- 
ficient abundance to explain it to the people, with- 
out any special provision being necessary for that 
purpose. The greater effort involves the less ; and 
this is the first time any body ever thought of se- 
parating them. 

Take our own language as an example. Saxon 
is the ground-work of it ; Norman- French was first 
largely infused into it : then Latin and Greek, 
on the revival of letters; and, last of all, a few 
words from other modern languages. Each of these 
has blended harmoniously with the rest ; and the 
whole together has become one of the most powerful, 
precise, and copious languages in the world. Yet 
Latin, and Greek, and French are only very dis- 
tantly related to the Saxon. It is curious that our 
own language, which we know to be so consistent 
and harmonious, had formerly the same reproach 
of incongruity cast on it Klopstock called it an 
ignoble and barbarous mixture of jarring mate- 
rials; to which Schlegel justly replied, that al- 
though English is compounded of different lan- 
guages, they have been completely fused into one 


and that no Englishman ordinarily thinks of the 
pedigree of the words which he uses, or is in the 
least offended by the difference in their orioin. 

" O 

The same may be said, more or less, of all the 
modern European languages. If Bengalee and 
Hindusthanee ever become as well fitted for every 
purpose of literature and science as English and 
French, no person will have reason to complain of 
the process by which this may have been effected. 
A similar process has been gone through in 
India. Sanskrit itself was engrafted by a race of 
conquerors on the national languages, and very evi- 
dent traces of its incongruity with them exist in the 
south of India*, and in various hilly tracts. The 
Mahommedan invaders afterwards introduced a 
profusion of Arabic and Persian, and a few Turk- 
ish words. The Portuguese contributed the naval 
vocabulary and many other words, which are now 
so blended with the vernacular dialects as not to be 
distinguishable by the natives from words of ancient 
Indian origin. And, lastly, numerous English 
words have been already naturalised, and others 
are daily becoming so through the medium of our 
civil and military systems, of our national customs 

* The languages of the Peninsula, south of the districts in 
which Mahratta is commonly spoken, derive more than half their 
words from sources entirely independent of the Sanskrit. 


and institutions, and, above all, of our literature 
and science, which are now extensively cultivated 
by the rising generation. Of these auxiliary lan- 
guages, the ancient unadulterated Persian is closely 
allied to the Sanskrit; but Arabic, with which Per- 
sian has been completely saturated since the eon- 
quest of Persia by the Arabians*, is as unlike 
Sanskrit as it is possible for one language to be 
unlike another, The Sanskrit delights in com- 
pounds : the Arabic abhors the composition of 
words, and expresses complex ideas by circumlo- 
cution. The Sanskrit verbal roots are almost uni- 
versally biliteral : the Arabic roots are as univer- 
sally trlliteral. They have scarcely a single word 
iu common. They are written in opposite direc- 
tions ; Sanskrit, from left to right ; Arabic, from 
right to left. " In whatever light we view them," 
observes Sir William Jones, " they seem totally 
distinct ; and must have been invented by two 
different races of men." Portuguese and English, 
on the other hand, through their close connection 

* Arabic lias been extensively introduced into the Indian ver- 
nacular languages, both mediately through Persian and imme- 
diately from Arabic literature. The complete umon of the Arabic 
with the ancient Persian language, "mm much A proof that the most 
uncongenial languages will readily amalgamate m \tn union with 
the Indian dialects. 


with Latin and Greek, have a great deal in com- 
mon with Sanskrit. 

In the face of these facts it is gravely asserted to 
be "indispensably necessary"* to cultivate congenial 
classical languages, in order to enrich and embellish 
the popular Indian dialects. Then, with a strange 
inconsistency, it is proposed to cultivate, for this 
purpose, as being a congenial language, the Arabic, 
which is the most radically different from the In- 
dian dialects of any language that could be named ; 
and, lastly, the English language, which has a 
distant affinity to those dialects, through the Saxon, 
and a very near connection with them through 
the Latin and Greek, is rejected as uncongenial. 

When we once go beyond the limits of the po- 
pular vocabulary, Sanskrit, Arabic, and English 
are equally new to the people. They have a word 
to learn which they did not know before ; and it is 

* If the supposed necessity really existed, our language must have 
been first improved by the cultivation of Anglo-Saxon philology, 
instead of Norman- French ; the fathers of English literature 
must have coined words from the Teutonic dialects, to express the 
thoughts of the Greek, Roman, and Italian authors ; our vocabu- 
laries of war, cookery, and dress-making, instead of being unaltered 
French, must first have been filtered through a German medium ; 
and in India, every idea which has Keen adopted from the religion, 
the learning, and the jurisprudence of the Arabians, must have 
been translated into good Sanskrit before it could have been na- 


as easy for them to learn an English as a Sanskrit 
word. Numerous Arabic, English, and Portu- 
guese terms have thus become household words in 
India, the Sanskrit synonymes of which are utterly 
unknown to the people. The first form part and 
parcel of the popular language : the last have no 
existence beyond the Shasters and the memories 
of a few hundred Pundits who are conversant 
with those old records. A gentleman, holding of- 
fice in India, lately attempted to reduce to practice 
the theory now under consideration. In his offi- 
cial communications to the neighbouring courts, 
every word not of Sanskrit origin was carefully 
expunged, and a pure Sanskrit word was substi- 
tuted for it. Thus Smgrahuk was thrust in the 
place of Collector ', Suriklmk of Number ', Adhcsh of 
Huhm^ Bhoomadhikaree of Zemeendar ; and so on. 
The consequence was, that his communications 
were unintelligible to the persons to whom they 
were addressed ; and it would have been better if 
they had been in Persian, from which we had at that 
time just escaped, than in such a learned jargon. 

As it is therefore a matter of indifference from 
what source the vocabulary is derived, while it is 
admitted that English must be cultivated for the 
sake of the knowledge which it contains, will it not 
be advisable to make English serve both these 


purposes ; to draw upon it for words as well as 
ideas ; to concentrate the national energies on this 
single point? Otherwise it will be necessary for 
the same persons to make themselves good Eng- 
lish scholars, in order that they may learn che- 
mistry, geology, or mechanics ; and good Sanskrit 
scholars, in order that they may get names to ap- 
ply to what they have learned. Our main object 
is, to raise up a class of persons who will make the 
learning of Europe intelligible to the people of 
Asia in their own languages. _&n enlarged and 
accurate knowledge of the systems they will have 
to explain, such as can be derived only from a long 
course of study, will, at any rate, be necessary to 
qualify them for this important task. But, if they 
will then have to begin again, and to devote nine 
years more to the study of Sanskrit philology, we 
might as well at once abandon the attempt. Neither 
would it be possible for one set of persons to pro- 
vide learning, and another words; and for every 
lecturer or writer on European subjects always 
to have his philologer at his elbow, to supply him 
with Sanskrit terms as they are required. Until 
the duration of human life is doubled, and mean? 
are found to maintain the literary class through 
twice the longest period now allotted to education, 
such complicated and cumbrous schemes of na- 


tional improvement will be impracticable : and 
even if they were practicable, they would be 
useless. When the people have to learn a new 
word, it is of no consequence whether they learn at 
Sanskrit or an English one; and all the time spent 
in learning Sanskrit would therefore be downright 

After a language has once assumed a fixed cha- 
racter, the unnecessary introduction of new words 
is, no doubt, offensive to good taste. But in Ben- 
galee and Hindusthanee nothing is fixed ; every 
thing is yet to be done, and a new literature has 
to be formed, almost from the very foundation. 
The established associations, which are liable to 
be outraged by the obtrusion of strange words, 
haive therefore no existence in this case. Such 
refinement is the last stage in the progress of 
improvement It is the very luxury of lan- 
guage ; and to speak of the delicate sensibility 
of a Bengalee or Hindusthanee being offended 
by the introduction of new words to express new 
ideas, is to transfer to a poor and unformed tongue 
the feelings which are connected only with a 
rich and cultivated one. It will be time enough 
after their scientific vocabulary is settled, and they 
have masterpieces of their own 5 to think of keeping 
their language pure. When they have a native 


Milton or Shakspeare, they will not require us to 
guide them in this respect. 

All we have to do is to impregnate the national 
mind with knowledge. The first depositaries of 
this knowledge will have a strong personal in- 
terest in making themselves intelligible. They will 
speak to, and write for, their countrymen, with 
whose habits of mind and extent of information 
they will be far better acquainted than it is pos- 
sible for us to be. They will be able to meet each 
case as it arises far more effectually than it can be 
done by laying down general rules before-hand. 
Those who write for the educated classes will 
freely avail themselves of English scientific terms, 
Those who write for the people will seek out popu- 
lar explanations of many of those terms at a 
sacrifice of precision and accuracy. By degrees, 
some will drop out of use, while others will retain 
their place in the national language. Our own 
language went through this process. After a pro- 
fuse and often pedantic use of Latin and Greek 
words by our earlier writers, our vocabulary 
settled down nearly in its present form, being com- 
posed of words partly of indigenous, and partly of 
foreign, origin, to which occasional additions are 
still made, as they are required, from both sources. 
The only safe general rule which can belaid down 
G 2 


on this subject, is to use the word which happens 
at the time to be the most intelligible, from what- 
ever language it may be derived, and to leave it to 
be determined by experience whether that or some 
other ought to be finally adopted. 

If English is to be the language of education in 
India, it follows, as a matter of course, that it will 
be the scientific language also, and that terms will 
be borrowed from it to express those ideas for which 
no appropriate symbols exist in the popular dia- 
lects. The educated class, through whom Euro- 
pean knowledge will reach the people, will be 
familiar with English. They will adopt the En- 
glish words with which' they are already ac- 
quainted, and will be clear gainers by it, while 
others will not be losers. The introduction of 
English words into the vernacular dialects will 
gradually diminish the distance between the sci- 
entific and popular language. It will become 
easier for the unlearned to acquire English, and 
for the learned to cultivate and improve the ver- 
nacular dialects. The languages of India will be 
assimilated to the languages of Europe, as far as 
the arts and sciences and general literature are 
concerned; and mutual intercourse and the in- 
. troductiori of further improvements will thus be 
facilitated. And, above all, the vernacular dia- 


lects of India will, by the same process, be united 
among themselves. This diversity of language is 
one of the greatest existing obstacles to improve- 
ment in India, But when English shall every 
where be established as the language of education, 
when the vernacular literature shall every where 
be formed from materials drawn from this source, 
and according to models furnished by this proto- 
type, a strong tendency to assimilation will be cre- 
ated. Both the matter and the manner will be 
the same. Saturated from the same source, recast 
in the same mould, with a common science, a com- 
mon standard of taste, a common nomenclature, 
the national languages, as well as the national cha- 
racter, will be consolidated ; the scientific and lite- 
rary acquisitions of each portion of the community 
will be at once thrown into a common stock for the 
general good ; and we shall leave an united and en- 
lightened nation, where we found a people broken up 
into sections, distracted by the system of caste, even 
in the bosom of each separate society, and depressed 
by literary systems, devised much more with a view 
to check the progress, than to promote the advance, 
of the human mind. No particular effort is required 
to bring about these results. They will take place 
in the natural course of things by the extension of 
English education, just as the inhabitants of the 
G 3 


greater part of Europe were melted down into one 
people by the prevalence of the Roman language 
and arts. All that is required is, that we should 
not laboriously interpose an obstacle to the pro- 
gress of this desirable change by the forced cul- 
tivation of the Sanskrit and Arabic languages. 

The argument we have been considering is the 
last hold of the oriental party. Forced to admit 
that Sanskrit and Arabic are not worth teaching 
for the knowledge they contain, they would obtain 
a reprieve for them on the ground that their voca- 
bularies are required to patch up the vernacular' 
dialects for the reception of Western know- 
ledge. Discarded as masters, they are to be re- 
tained as servants to another and a better system. 
Their spirit has fled, but their carcase must be 
preserved to supply the supposed deficiencies, and 
to impair the real energies, of the system which is 
growing up in their place. 

But, specious as the argument is, I should not 
have dwelt on it so long, if it had not been closely 
connected with a most pernicious error. The time 
of the people of India has hitherto been wasted in 
learning languages as distinguished from know- 
ledge mere words as distinguished from things 
to an extent almost inconceivable to Europeans. 
This has been in a great measure unavoidable. 


The Mahommedan legal system was locked up in 
Arabic; the Hindu, in Sanskrit; Persian was 
the language of official proceedings ; English that 
of liberal education and of a great part of our 
judicial and revenue system all of these being 
independent of the common colloquial languages. 
If, therefore, a person learned only one foreign or 
dead language, it was impossible for him to qualify 
himself to take an efficient part in public business. 
If he learned several, his best years were wasted 
in the unprofitable task of studying grammar and 
committing vocabularies to memory. Persons 
were considered learned in proportion to the 
number of languages they knew ; and men, empty 
of true knowledge and genius, acquired great 
reputations, merely because they were full of 
words. As great a waste of human time and la- 
bour took place in India under this state of things, 
as is caused in China by their peculiar system of 
writing. In one country, life was exhausted in 
learning the signs of words, and in the other in 
learning words themselves. 

At first we gave decided encouragement to this 
false direction of the national taste. Our own at- 
tention was turned the same way. Oriental philo- 
logy had taken the place of almost every other 
pursuit among our Indian literary men. The sur- 
G 4 


prising copiousness, the complicated mechanism 
of the Sanskrit and Arabic languages were 
spoken of as if languages were an end to be at- 
tained, instead of a means for attaining an end, 
and were deserving of being studied by all sorts 
of people without any reference to the amount 
or kind of knowledge which they contain, All the 
concurrent systems were liberally patronised by 
the government, and the praises and emoluments 
lavished on great Arabic and Sanskrit scholars, 
were shared by natives as well as Europeans. 

By degrees, however, a more wholesome state 
of things began to prevail. The government 
ceased to give indiscriminate support to every lite- 
rary system, without reference to its real merits. 
Persian is ceasing to be the language of business. 
The study of Arabic and Sanskrit will soon be ren- 
dered superfluous by the inestimable boon which is 
being prepared for the people, of a complete body 
of law in their own language. By these changes 
an incalculable saving of human labour will be 
effected. The best literary, scientific, and profes- 
sional education will be obtained at the expense of 
learning a single foreign language : and the years 
which were before painfully spent in breaking the 
shell of knowledge, will be employed in devouring 
the kernel. 


But if it be really true that the cultivation of 
the ancient classical languages is necessary to 
qualify the popular dialects for the reception 
of European knowledge, the progress of this 
salutary change must be arrested in the midst; 
the intellect of the country must be rechained to 
the heavy burden which has, for so many ages, 
prevented it from standing upright; and a pur- 
suit which absorbs the time of the literary class : to 
the exclusion of those studies which can alone 
enable them to regenerate their country, must be 
indefinitely persevered in. It is true that neither 
the law, nor the administration of it, nor the 
established system of public instruction, any longer 
require this enormous sacrifice. But the phi- 
lological system lately propounded by the advo- 
cates of Oriental education does require it. Siich 
is the expense at which this theory is to be main- 
tained. If crores, instead of lacs of rupees, had 
been spent in founding Sanskrit colleges and print- 
ing Sanskrit books, it would have been as nothing 
compared with this. The mental and moral en- 
ergies of India are to be kept for ages in a state of 
worse than Egyptian bondage, in order that the 
vernacular dialects may be improved from con- 
genial, instead of from uncongenial, sources. The 
ordinary terms on which the God of wisdom has 
G 5 


accorded knowledge to his creatures are thought 
too easy ; and new and hitherto unheard-of condi- 
tions * are to be imposed, of such a nature as must 
effectually prevent the monopoly of learnings 
hitherto maintained in the East, from being broken 
in upon by the rapid diffusion of English educa- 

Another argument used by the Oriental party 
is, that little real progress can be made until the 
learned classes in India are enlisted in the cause 
of diffusing sound knowledge, aricl that "one able 
Pundit or Maulavee, who should add English to 
Sanskrit or Arabic, who should be led to expose 
the absurdities and errors of his own systems, and 
advocate the adoption of European knowledge and 
principles, would work a greater revolution in the 
minds of his unlettered countrymen than would 
result from their proficiency in English alone." 

* The natives themselves have no idea of this alleged depend- 
ence of the vernacular languages upon the Sanskrit. Mr. Adam 
observes, at page 77 of his last report, "There is no connection be- 
tween the Bengalee and Sanskrit schools of Bengal, or between 
the Hindee and Sanskrit schools of Behar : the teachers, scholars, 
and instruction of the common schools are totally different from 
those of the schools of learning, the teachers and scholars being 
drawn from different classes of society, and the instruction directed 
to different objects. But this remark does not apply to the 
Persian and Arabic schools, which are intimately connected, and 
which almost inperceptibly pass into each other ; " and to the 
same effect at greater length at page 59. 


The first objection to this plan of reform is, 
that it is impracticable. An able Pundit or Mau- 
lavee can be formed only by a long course of .in- 
struction, extending far into the years of manhood. 
It is then too late to begin a new training in Eu- 
ropean literature and science, and even if it were not 
too late, they would have no inclination for the task. 
Their interest, their affections, their prejudices, 
their pride, their religious feelings are all pre-en- 
gaged in behalf of the systems under the influence 
of which they have grown up, and by which their 
minds have been formed. Their time of change 
is in every respect gone by. Although the system 
of education advocated by the oriental party had 
a fair trial of upwards of ten years, no teacher of 
this description was produced, nor was there ever 
any appearance of one. A few Maulavees and 
Pundits may, to please us, have acquired a super- 
ficial knowledge of a few of the most obvious parts 
of the European systems of geography and astro- 
nomy, but none of them showed any disposition 
to preach a crusade against the systems under 
which they had been brought up, and to which 
they were still as much attached as any of their 

The next objection to this scheme is, that even 
if it were practicable, it is quite unnecessary. The 
G 6 


object for which it is proposed to raise up teachers 
endowed with such rare qualifications, has been 
already accomplished. A revolution has already 
taken place in men's minds, not only among the 
unlettered, but what is of far more consequence, 
among the middle and upper classes, whose pro- 
perty, activity, and influence will secure the 
further extension, and the permanence of the 
change. The people are greedy for European 
knowledge, and crowd to our seminaries in greater 
numbers than we can teach them. What more do 
we want? Where would have been the wis- 
dom of entertaining the 1,200 English students 
who besieged the doors of the Hooghly College 
with lectures on the absurdities of the Pooranic 
system of the earth? They already fully ad- 
mitted the superiority of our system, and came 
on purpose to be instructed in it; and so it is 
with thousands of youth in every part of the 
Bengal provinces. 

It is in vain to direct our instructions to those 
whose habits of mind are identified with the old 
system, and whose reputation and subsistence de- 
pend on its continuance. If Luther had addressed 
the Roman Catholic clergy, and Bacon the school- 
men, instead of the rising generation, and all who 
were not strongly pre-engaged in behalf of any 


system, we should have missed our European Re- 
formation, both of philosophy and religion. Still 
less ought we to propagate the very systems? which 
it is our object to supplant, merely in the hope of 
being able to ingraft some shoots of European 
science upon them. Bacon did not educate 
schoolmen, nor Luther Roman Catholic priests, 
to become the instruments of their reforms. At 
this rate we should have been ever learning, and 
never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 
The barren trunk and branches would have 
been always growing, while the exotic additions to 
this uncongenial stock, having no root in them- 
selves, would have produced no fruit, however 
often they might have been renewed. Neither is 
it necessary or desirable to carry on war against 
the old system by direct attacks upon it, or by 
making offensive assertions of the superiority of 
our own. The ordinary effect of controversy is to 
excite hostility and bitterness of spirit. Ram Mo- 
hun Roy, who comes nearer to the idea of the re- 
formed teacher of the orientalists than any body 
else who has appeared, was looked upon as an 
apostate by his party, and they were roused by his 
attacks to organise a regular opposition to his views. 
What we have to do is, not to dispute, but to 
teach not to prepossess the minds of the 


natives with false systems, and to keep our good 
instruction till it is too lute to be of use, but to 
get the start of their prejudices by educating 
them, from the beginning, according to our own 
views. We ought to cherish European learning, 
which has already taken deep root and begun to 
throw out vigorous shoots, leaving the trunk of 
the old system to a natural and undisturbed de- 
cay. The rising generation will become the 
whole nation in the course of a few years. They 
are all craving for instruction, and we may mould 
their unoccupied and supple minds in any way 
we please. 

The ancient system of learning is so constituted 
that while we have no assistance to expect, we 
have, at the same time, no opposition to fear, from 
its native professors. According to the theory of 
Hinduism, Law, Philosophy and Divinity, are 
the peculiar inheritance of the Brahmins, while 
the study of other branches of literature and 
science is open to the inferior castes. " But 
practically," Mr. Adam observes, "Brahmins 
monopolise not only a part, but the whole, of 
Sanskrit learning. In the two Behar districts, 
both teachers and students, without a single ex- 
ception belong to that caste, and the exceptions 
in the Bengal districts are comparatively few." 


The Hindu system of learning is, in short, a close 
monopoly, which has been established by the 
Brahmins to secure their own pre-eminence. They 
make no proselytes, because they wish to have no 
rivals. Why therefore should we strive to extend 
this system beyond the limits which the Brahmins 
themselves wish ? They have no notion of making 
it popular: their object is to confine it within 
the limits of the sacerdotal class. We, on the 
contrary, for a long time acted as if we desired 
to inundate the whole country with it. All the 
Brahmins aim at is, not to be interfered with in 
the exclusive enjoyment of their peculiar learn- 
ing. The education of the mass of the people 
does not enter into their views : this great field is 
totally unoccupied; and we may establish on it 
our own machinery of public instruction, without 
clashing with any other interest, 

Oar plan is based on exactly opposite prin- 
ciples from that of the Brahmins. Our object is 
to promote the extension*, not the monopoly of 

* The diffusive spirit of European learning is strikingly exem- 
plified in the young men who are educated at our institutions. 
To convince others of the superiority of European knowledge, 
and to communicate that knowledge to them, is evidently re- 
garded both as a duty and pleasure by them, It is a matter of 
course with them : their letters are full of it. Those who are rich 
establish, or aid in the establishment of schools : those who are 


learning; to rouse the mind and elevate the 
character of the whole people, not to keep them 
in a state of slavish submission to a particular 
sect. The laity, the great body of the middle 
and upper classes of native society, are now, for 
the first time, invited to enjoy the benefits of a 
liberal education. The key of knowledge has 
been restored to them ; and they have boon com- 
pensated for their long exclusion, by having 
opened to them fields of science with which the 

pour often devote their leisure hours to giving gratuitous instruc- 
tion ; they all nid in the good work to the extant of their ability. 
Them may be something of the zeal of new converts hi this, and 
of a desire to secure their own footing by mmasing the number 
of the followers of the new learning: but, whatever may be the 
motive, the practice shows thnt Sanskrit mid Kugli.sU literature 
inspire exactly opposite views of relative duty; nmlthnt while one 
is eminently selfish ami exclusive, the other is benevolent and dif- 
fusive in its tendency. I believe thnt, in the groat majority of 
instances, th educated natives arc actuated in promoting the 
spread of European learning by ti sincere desire to benefit their 
countrymen, by communicating to them that from which they 
have themselves derived so much pleasure and tdvnntage* The 
same class of persons are distinguished by their liberal support of 
the public charities at Calcuttft,*u duty in which the native gen- 
tlemen who have been brought up under the old system miHerably 
fail We shall not be surprised at this, when we recollect that our 
literature in deeply impregnated with tho spirit of our beneficent 
religion; and that even the modern philosophy* which rejecte re- 
ligion, or professes to supply motives of action Independent of it, 
has for its avowed object the amelioration of the condition of the 
mass of mankind. 



learning of the Brahmins is not to be compared. 
Wealth, numbers, influence, are on their side. 
The movement is becoming more and more 
irresistible; and the power of directing the public 
mind is passing from those who have exercised it 
for the last two thousand years to an entirely new 
set of men. 

Although the knowledge of Sanskrit is con- 
fined to the Brahminical caste, the Brahmins are 
by no means practically limited tp a studious 
and religious life: the majority of them, per- 
haps, get their subsistence by secular pursuits. 
The number of persons, therefore, devoted to the 
study of Sanskrit is surprisingly small when it 
is closely examined: the number of those who 
study Arabic is still smaller. The following 
table, extracted from Mr. Adam's report, shows 
the actual number of teachers and students of 
those languages, in five of the principal districts of 
Bengal and Behar : 



Students. | Teachers. 








XJurdwun ...i. 

South Bchar 


Total . . 



353 | 2555 


These facts are in the highest degree encour- 
aging. In the single town of 1 looghly there are 
as many boys receiving a good English education 
as the largest number of Sanskrit and Arabic 
students in any one of the districts reported on 
by Mr. Adam. In the other four districts, the 
Oriental students do not exceed the average 
number of English scholars in those districts, in 
which our means of instruction have been tole- 
rably organised. At Calcutta, where there are at 
least 6,000 boys learning English, the prepon- 
derance must be overwhelming on the side of 
European literature. If such be the relative posi- 
tion of Eastern and Western learning in India*, 
while the latter is yet in its infancy, how will it be 
when English education shall have approached its 
maturity ? 

Besides the 158 Arabic students, Mr. Adam 
found 3,496 youths learning Persian in the five 
districts examined by him. But, although Arabic 
and Persian literature is strictly Mahommedan, 

* The number of persons who cultivate the learned Ksustern 
languages, is certainly much smaller in the Western provinces 
than in Bengal or Behar. There may tw a few more Arabic 
scholars in some of the principal towns ; but Sanskrit is generally 
held in no esteem, and is very little attended to. Whole districts 
might be named in which it would be difficult to find an Arabic or 
Sanskrit student, 


the majority of the scholars were Hindus; 
" Is this comparative large number of Hindu 
scholars" Mr. Adarn continues " the effect of a 
laudable desire to study a foreign literature placed 
within their reach ? Or is it the effect of an arti- 
ficial stimulus? This may be judged by com- 
paring the number of Hindu teachers and scholars 
of Persian, which, until lately, was almost the ex- 
clusive language of local administration, with that 
of Hindu teachers and scholars of Arabic, which is 
not called into use in the ordinary routine of go- 
vernment. With regard to teachers ; there is not a 
single Hindu teacher of Arabic in the five dis- 
tricts : all are Mussulmans. With regard to scho- 
lars, there are only 9 Hindu to 149 Mussulman 
students of Arabic, and consequently 2,087 Hindus 
to 1,409 Mussulmans who are learning Persian. 
The small comparative number of Arabic students 
who are Hindus, and the large comparative num- 
ber of the Persian scholars of the same class seem 
to admit of only one explanation; viz., that the 
study of Persian has been unnaturally forced by the 
practice of government ; and it seems probable, that 
even a considerable number of the Mussulmans who 
learn Persian may be under the same artificial influ- 
ence" This is another proof, that the tendency of 


our system has hitherto been to encourage not 
English but Mahommedan learning. 

Persian has now ceased to be the official lan- 
guage ; and, as it is not recommended by any other 
consideration, the study of it must soon die out. 
The inducement to learn Arabic will be greatly 
diminished, if it will not be altogether annihilated 
by the promulgation of a code. Sanskrit will, 
for the same reason, be cultivated by a smaller 
number of persons than formerly ; and the study 
of it will be confined to those Brahmins who wish 
to qualify themselves to be priests and astrologers. 
Meanwhile the tide has set in strongly in favour of 
English ; and the popular inclination is seconded 
by a system of public instruction, which is daily 
becoming more extended and better organised : an 
advantage which the old learning never had. The 
Brahminical monopoly of knowledge is now re- 
acting on those for whose benefit it was established; 
and the national curiosity, which had for so many 
ages been deprived of its natural gratification, is 
greedily availing itself of the new opening pre- 
sented to it 'If this disposition of the people be 
only moderately gratified by the establishment so 
proper means of instruction, we may reasonably 
expect that ten years hence the number of person 
studying English will be in the proportion of ten 


to one to those who will be studying the learned 
Oriental languages. 

Lastly; it is urged* that as we have succeeded 
the native chiefs who were the natural patrons of 
Indian learning, we are bound to give that aid to 
Oriental scholars which they would have done 
had they never been displaced by us. 

To promote the spread of knowledge among 
our subjects is undoubtedly one of the most sacred 
duties which has devolved on us as the rulers of 
India : but I cannot admit the correctness of the 
test by which the" Oriental party would determine 
the kind of knowledge to be taught Is it meant 
that we are bound to perpetuate the system 
patronised by our predecessors, merely because 
it was patronised by them, however little it 
may be calculated to promote the welfare of the 
people ? If it be so, the English rule would be 
the greatest curse to India it is possible to con- 
ceive. Left to themselves, the inherent rottenness 
of the native systems must, sooner or later, have 
brought them to a close. But, according to this 
view of the subject, the resources of European skill 
are to employed in imparting to them a new princi- 
ple of duration : knowledge is to be used to perpetu- 
ate ignorance civilisation to perpetuate barba- 
rism ; and the iron strength of the English Govern- 


ment to bind faster still the fetters which have so 
long confined the native mind. This is a new view 
of our obligations ; and, if it be a just one, it is to be 
hoped that in pity to our subjects we shall neglect 
this branch of our duties. Fortunately for them, 
we have not thought it incumbent on us to act on 
this rule in other departments of administration. 
We have not adopted into our system barbarous 
penal enactments and oppressive modes of collect- 
ing the revenue because they happened to be 
favourites with our predecessors. The test of what 
ought to be taught is, truth and utility. Our pre- 
decessors consulted the welfare of their subjects to 
the best of their information : we are bound to 
do the same by ours. We cannot divest our- 
selves of this responsibility : the light of European 
knowledge, and the diffusive spirit of European 
benevolence give us advantages which our pre- 
decessors did not possess. A new class of Indian 
scholars is rising under our rule, more numerous 
and better instructed than those who went before 
them ; and, above all, plans are in progress for 
enlightening the great body of the people as for as 
their leisure will permit an undertaking which 
never entered into the imagination of any of the 
former rulers of India. 



Proofs that the Time has arrived for taking up the 
Question of National Education. The Disuse of the 
Persia?? Language. Themany important Bearings of 
this Change. The Codification of the Mahommedan 
and Hindu Law. The increased Employment of the 
Natives The concurrence of all Classes of the Com- 
munity towards the Object 

MANY circumstances indicate that the time has 
arrived for taking up the question of Indian 
national instruction in a way in which it has never 
yet been taken up. Obstacles, which formerly 
prevented the Government from taking decisive 
stepsj have disappeared : unexpected facilities 
have come to light. The mind of India has taken 
a new spring. Substitutes are required to fill up 
the void created by the passing away of antiquated 
systems. The people want instruction: the Go- 
vernment wants well educated servants to fill the 
responsible situations which have been opened to 
the natives. Every thing concurs to prove that 
this important subject ought no longer to be re- 


garded only as an amusement for the leisure hours 
of benevolent persons. It must now be taken up 
as a great public question, with that seriousness 
and resolution to make the necessary sacrifices 
which the interests at stake require. 

Till lately the use of the Persian language in all 
official proceedings bound down the educated 
classes of the natives, in the Bengal and Agra pre- 
sidencies, to the study of a thoroughly debasing and 
worthless literature, and the effect was the exclusion 
and degradation both of English and of the verna- 
cular languages. This spell has been dissolved : the 
vernacular language has been substituted for the 
Persian throughout the revenue department; and 
the same measure is now in progress in the judicial 
department. The extraordinary ease and rapidity 
with which this change was effected in the revenue 
administration, proves that this event took place in 
the fullness of time, and furnishes a happy prog- 
nostic of future improvement In Bengal, the Per- 
sian language had disappeared from the collectors' 
offices at the end of a month almost as completely as 
if it had never been used. It melted away like snow. 

This measure has so many important bearings 
on the welfare of the people, and the character of 
our government, that I shall be excused for mak- 
ing a few remarks on it, although they will be 


only indirectly connected with my subject A 
very general opinion has prevailed for some years 
past, that Persian ought to be discarded; but 
there was not the same concurrence of sentiment 
as to what language ought to be substituted for it. 
One party advocated the use of English, on the 
ground, that it was of more importance that the 
judges who had to decide a case should thoroughly 
understand it, than the persons themselves who 
were interested in it : that if the European officers 
used their own language in official proceedings, 
they would be much more independent of 
the pernicious influence of their administrative 
officers; and that the general encouragement 
which would be given to the study of English, by 
its adoption as the official language, would give a 
powerful impulse to the progress of native enlight- 
enment. Some years ago this "opinion was the 
prevailing one among those who were favourable 
to the plan of giving the natives a liberal European, 
education ; and it was even adopted by the Bengal 
government, as will be seen by the extract at the 
foot of the page*, from a letter from the secretary 
in the Persian department, to the Committee of 
Public Instruction, dated the *26th June, 1829, 

* "One of the most important questions connected with the 
present discussion is, that of the nature and degree of encourage- 


Another party advocated the use of the verna- 
cular language ; and argued, that the substitution 

ment to the study of the English language, which it is neces- 
sary and desirable for the Government to hold out independently of 
providing books, teachers, and the ordinary means of tuition. 
Your Committee has observed, that unless English fee made the 
language of business, political negotiation, and jurisprudence, it 
will not be universally or extensively studied by our native sub- 
jects. Mr. Mackenzie, in the note annexed to your Report, dated 
the 3rd instant, urges strongly the expediency of a declaration by 
Government, that the English will be eventually used as the lan- 
guage of business ; otherwise, with the majority of our scholars, he 
thinks, that all we <do to encourage the acquisition must be 
nugatory ;' and recommends, that it be immediately notified, that, 
after the expiration of three years, a decided preference will be- 
given to candidates for office, who may add a knowledge of 
English to other qualifications. The Delhi Committee have also 
advocated, with great force and earnestness, the expediency of 
rendering the English the language of our Public Tribunals and 
Correspondence, and the necessity of making known that such is 
our eventual purpose, if we wish the study to be successfully and 
extensively prosecuted. 

" Impressed with a deep conviction of the importance of the sub- 
ject, and cordially disposed to promote the great object of 
improving India, by spreading abroad the lights of European 
knowledge, morals, and civilisation, his Lordship in Council, 
has no hesitation in stating to your Committee, and in authorising; 
you to announce to all concerned in the superintendence of your 
native seminaries, that it is the wish and admitted policy of the 
British Government to render its own language* gradually and 
eventually the language of public business throughout tine country ; 
and that it will omit no opportunity of giving every reasonable 
and practicable degree of encouragement to the execution of this 
project. At the same time, his Lordship in Council, is not pre- 
dated to come forward with any distinct and specific pledge as to 


of one foreign language for another was not what 
was wanted ; that as fewer natives would know 
English than Persian for some time to come, the 

the period and manner of effecting so great a change in the system 
of our internal economy ; nor is such a pledge considered to be at 
all indispensable to the gradual and cautious fulfilment of our 
views. It is conceived that, assuming the existence of that dis- 
position to acquire a knowledge of English, which is declared in 
the correspondence now before Government, and forms the ground- 
work of our present proceedings, a general assurance to the above 
effect, combined with the arrangements in train for providing the 
means of instruction, will ensure our obtaining at no distant 
period a certain, though limited, number of respectable native 
English scholars ; and more effectual and decisive measures inay 
be adopted hereafter, when a body of competent teachers shall have 
been provided in the Upper Provinces, and the superiority of an 
English education is more generally recognised and appreciated. 

** As intimated, however, by the Delhi Committee, the use of the 
English in our public correspondence with natives of distinction, 
more especially in that which is of a complimentary nature, would 
in itself be an important demonstration in favour of the new 
course of study, as serving to indicate pretty clearly the future 
intentions of Government; and there appears to be no objection to 
the immediate application of this incentive to a certain extent, and 
under the requisite limitations. The expediency, indeed, of revising 
the Governor General's correspondence with the higher classes of 
natives on the above principles, has before, more than once, under- 
gone discussion and consideration ; and the Governor-general in 
Council, deems the present a suitable occasion for resolving to 
address the native chiefs and nobility of India in the English lan- 
guage, (especially those residing in our own provinces,) whenever 
there is reason to believe, either that they have themselves acquired 
a knowledge of it, or have about them persons possessing that 
knowledge, and generally in all instances where the adoption of the 
new medium of correspondence would be acceptable and agreeable/' 

H 2 


influence of the subordinate native officers would 
be rather increased than diminished by the change ; 
that if the European officers were able to get 
through their business without using the ver- 
nacular language, they would naturally neglect 
the study of it ; and that, although the plan pro- 
posed would give an artificial stimulus to the 
study of English, it would condemn the vernacular 
languages, the increased cultivation of which 
was of still more importance, to continued ex- 
clusion and contempt To these another argu- 
ment has been added by the course of events ; 
which is, that as by the late changes in the judi- 
cial system every civil case may be decided in the 
first instance by a native judge, the general intro- 
duction of English as the official language would 
be nearly impracticable. 

Every body is now agreed in giving the pre- 
ference to the vernacular language. It is a great 
point gained for the efficiency and popularity, and 
consequently for the permanence of our rule, that 
the European officers have now been placed in 
such a position that they must make themselves 
thoroughly acquainted with the language which 
the people themselves speak,* All other media have 

* The degree to which the European officers in Bengal are 
ignorant of the popular language would hardly be credited. 


been discarded, and public officers cannot discharge 
any of their duties unless they are familiar with it. 
As candidates for civil employ in India will now 
have only the vernacular language to attend to, the 
preparatory course of instruction ought to be 
lengthened and the examinations increased in 
strictness ; and as, after they enter upon active life, 
almost every thing they hear, and speak, and read 
in the performance of their public duties, will be in 
the popular language, they must soon acquire the 
same, or nearly the same, facility of transacting 
business in it as in English. 

This great point having been gained, every 
thing else will come out right. - Being now brought 
into direct communication with the people, the 
European officers will be more independent of 
their executive officers : they will see anckknow 

"When I left Calcutta only one judge of the Sudder was believed 
to know it j and perhaps now there is not one. Every kind of judi- 
cial business was transacted in Persian, which is a language very 
unlike Bengalee ; and the evidence of parties in criminal proceed- 
ings, which, by positive orders from the Court of Directors, is taken 
down in the language in which it is delivered, was, and perhaps 
still is, translated from the vernacular language into Persian, on 
the papers being submitted to the superior court. Public officers in 
the Upper Provinces were always acquainted with the vernacular 
language ; and now that they have to transact business in it, they 
will become more familiar with it than ever. 

H 3 


more of the people, will take a greater interest 
in their affairs, and will make their influence 
more felt among them. The people, on the other 
hand, will obtain a much better insight into what 
is going on in the courts than it was possible for 
them to do while the proceedings were conducted 
in a foreign language. They will exercise a 
greater check over the subordinate native officers. 
They will be less in the hands of their own agents. 
Justice will be better administered ; and the people 
will have much more confidence in the adminis- 
tration of it. The field of selection for public em- 
ployment, instead of being confined, as heretofore, 
to those who were familiarly acquainted with the 
Persian language, will be extended to every 
educated person : entirely new classes of people 
will be brought in to aid in the cheap and upright 
administration of public affairs : individuals who, 
without any higher literary attainment than a 
good knowledge of their own language, have ac- 
quired in private life a character for ability and 
integrity, and still more the young men who 
have received at the public seminaries the best 
education the country can afford, will infuse new 
life and new morality into the system. As learn- 
has ceased to be monopolised by the Brahmins, 
so public employment has ceased to be mono 


polised by the class of people who are acquainted 
with Persian. 

Lastly; by this measure a great impulse will 
be given to the study, not of English only, or 
of the vernacular language only, but both of 
English and of the vernacular language. Those 
natives who can afford to give their children a 
liberal education, will not cease to do so because 
it is no longer necessary to be acquainted with 
Persian. They are fully aware that the best edu- 
cated persons generally succeed best in every ptir- 
suit of life ; and in particular that they are ap- 
pointed, in preference to others, to situations under 
Government The vernacular language does not 
furnish the means of obtaining a liberal education : 
English does so in a much higher degree than any 
other language to which the natives of India have 
access ; so much so, that the knowledge neces- 
sary for the practice of some professions those of 
a Physician, a Surgeon, an Engineer, an Architect, 
and a Surveyor, for instance, can be acquired 
through no other medium. These motives will 
be more than sufficient to stimulate the middle 
and upper classes of natives to the cultivation of 
English. Their own languages, on the other hand, 
have been relieved from the state of proscription 
and contempt to which they had been for ages 
H 4 


condemned. They have been erected into the 
medium for transacting nearly the whole of the 
public business of the country. It will be an 
object to all both to those who look forward to 
be employed in any situation under Government, 
and to those whose concerns bring them into 
connection with any public court or office to 
have a competent knowledge of these languages. 
Those who receive any education will learn to 
read them. To write them with precision and 
elegance will be an attainment coveted by the 
most highly educated persons. 

The changes which are taking place in the legal 
system of the country is another cause of the move- 
ment in native society. Buried under the obscu- 
rity of Sanskrit and Arabic erudition, mixed up 
with the dogmas of religion, and belonging to two 
concurrent systems made up of the dicta of sages 
of different ages and schools, the laws are at pre- 
sent in the highest degree uncertain, redundant, 
and contradictory. To obtain a moderate acquaint- 
ance with either Mahommedan or Hindu law is- 
the work of a whole life, and is therefore the busi- 
ness of a separate profession, with which the bar 
and bench have nothing in common. The expo- 
sitors of the law are the muftis and pundits ; men, 
who deeply imbued with the spirit of the ancient 


learning to which they are devoted, live only in 
past ages, and are engaged in a perpetual struggle 
to maintain the connection between the barbarism 
of antiquity and the manners and opinions of the 
present time. Their oracular responses are too 
often the result of ignorance, pedantry, or corrup- 
tion ; but as they are few in number, and have a 
monopoly of this kind of learning, it is almost im- 
possible to convict them. The judges and bar- 
risters, being excluded by the anomalous state of 
the legal system from the mysteries of their own 
profession, can exercise no control over them. 
The people, who know no law except what happens 
from time to time to fall from the lips of the muf- 
tis and pundits, are still more helpless. The inju- 
rious influence of such a state of things as this, both 
on the administration of justice and on the general 
advancement of the people in knowledge and civili- 
sation, can be better conceived than described. 

This fabric has been overthrown by the deci- 
sion of the British Parliament, that a Commission 
should be appointed to ascertain and digest the Jaws 
of India. The alliance between bad law and false 
religion has been dissolved; and as the natives will 
now be able to consider the civil and criminal codes 
only as they afleet their temporal welfare, the way 
will be opened for the introduction of those fun- 
H 5 


damental changes in the frame-work of native so- 
ciety which are essential to its complete regenera- 
tion. The class of muftis and pundits, being no 
longer required, will cease to exist; and those who 
are learned in the law, and those who actually ad- 
minister it, will for the future be the same persons. 
Legal knowledge will pass from pedants and 
antiquarians to persons who are engaged in the 
business and sympathise with the feelings of the 
present age. An improved bench and bar will 
both ensure a certain and prompt administra- 
tion of the law, and give that aid to general 
improvement which may always be expected from 
a highly cultivated body of men, whose profession 
obliges them to be familiar with the interests, and 
attentive to the favour of society. 

This happy change, however, will be slowly and 
imperfectly effected if it be not supported by cor- 
responding arrangements in the department of 
* public instruction. The Indian lawyers of the old 
scliool, who fortunately are not numerous, will 
be laid on the shelf on the promulgation of the new 
code. Ati eEtirely new set must be trained to take 
their place. * It will be as easy now to give instruc- 
tion in law as in any other branch of knowledge. 
Instead of an endless variety'of contradictory max- 
ims, there will be one plain consistent body of law. 


Instead of legal knowledge being scattered through 
several languages two of which are among the 
most difficult in the world it will all be collected 
in our own language and in that of our native sub- 
jects.* The colleges established for giving instruc- 
tion in Mahommedan and Hindu law, may now, in 
perfect accordance with their original design, be 
employed in educating enlightened men ; and the 
plan of education at all the other seminaries may 
be so arranged, that to whatever extent we succeed 
in improving the moral worth and cultivating the 
intellect of our subjects, to that same extent we 
shall provide materials for the pure and intelligent 
administration of the law* 

Another great change has of late years been 

* The difficulties in the way of giving legal instruction at the 
Government seminaries, which are now on the point of being re- 
moved, were thus noticed by the Education Committee, in their 
report for 1835 : " Law would occupy the third place; hut at 
present this branch of instruction is attended with many difficult 
ties, arising from the number of conflicting systems of law which 
prevail in this country, and the various languages in which they 
are embodied. The labours of the Law Commissioners, will, we 
hope, soon supply a condensed body of Anglo-Indian law, in^the 
English and vernacular languages; and it wilFthen be proper to 
adopt measures to procure qualified legal instructors for each of / 
our more important seminaries. We conceive that great advan- 
tages must result to the judicial administration from encouraging 
the best educated, who are also, we hope, the most moral and 
upright of the native youth,, to seek employment in it," 
H 6 


made in our Indian administration,, which ought 
alone to excite us to corresponding exertions for 
the education of the natives. The system esta- 
blished by Lord Cornwallis was based upon the 
principle of doing every thing by European agency. 
Europeans are, no doubt, superior to" the natives 
in some of the most important qualities of adminis- 
trators ; but the public revenue did not admit of 
the employment of a sufficient number of them. 
The wheels of Government therefore soon became 
clogged : more than half of the business of the 
country remained unperformed ; and at last it be- 
came necessary to abandon a plan, which, after a 
fair trial, had completely broken down. The plan 
which Lord William Bentinck substituted for it was, 
to transact the public business by native agency, 
under European superintendence ; and this change 
is now in progress in all the different branches of 
the administration. We have already native judges, 
collectors, and opium and salt agents ; and it is now 
proposed to have native magistrates. The native 
collectors are often vested with the same powers as 
the European collectors; and it has been lately 
enacted, that all civil suits, of whatever amount, 
may be tried in the first instance by the native 

The success of this great measure depends en- 


tirely on the fitness of the natives for the exercise 
of the new functions to which they have been 
called. It is easier to dub a person collector or 
magistrate, than to secure in him the possession 
of the qualities which those offices require ; and the 
lowest imbecility as well as the highest efficiency 
may be found under the same official title. Mea- 
sures have been adopted for educating native phy- 
sicians ; and is it of less importance that native 
judges should be professionally trained? Care is 
taken that the young Englishmen destined to hold 
office in India are properly instructed ; and is no 
exertion necessary to secure integrity and mental 
cultivation in the native service, which now forms 
at least as important a part of the general admi- 
nistration as the European officers themselves? 
When the comparative state of morals and educa- 
tion in the classes from which the European and 
native servants are respectively taken, is consider- 
ed, it will appear that we could much better do 
without the interference of the state with the pre- 
vious training of the former than of the latter. The 
native functionaries have acquitted themselves ex- 
tremely well, considering the corrupt school to 
which most of them belonged and the suddenness 
with which they were called to the performance 
of new and important duties ; but enough instances 


of delinquency have occurred to prove, that the 
country will not reap the full benefit of the change 
that has been made, until we not only open prefer- 
ment to the natives, but also furnish them with 
the means by which they may merit that prefer- 
ment, and learn how to use it ; until we not only 
give them power, but also secure, by a previous 
training, the existence of those qualities with the 
aid of which alone power can be beneficially ex- 

The necessity of the case obliged us to begin at 
the wrong end, and we cannot too soon supply the 
deficiency. The business of the country is now 
done ; bat we must strive that it should be well 
done. There is now a sufficient number of judges 
and collectors ; but we must endeavour to provide 
a succession of honest and well instructed judges 
and collectors. We want native functionaries of a 
new stamp, trained in a new school ; and adding 
to the acuteness, patience, and intimate acquaint- 
ance with the language and manners of the peo- 
ple which may always be expected in natives* 
some degree of the enlightened views and inte- 
grity of character which distinguish the European 
officers. Our national interest and honour, our 
duty to our subjects, and even justice to our na- 
tive servants themselves, require this at our hands. 


These, however, are no new sentiments : they have 
been repeatedly urged by the Court of Directors 
on the Indian government ; and considering how 
deeply the success of our administration, not in 
one only, but in all its different branches, is con- 
cerned in the establishment of a system of public 
instruction adequate to the existing wants of the 
country, it may be hoped that the necessary funds 
will soon be placed at the disposal of the Governor- 
general in Council. 

But this part of the subject has another, and 
perhaps a still more important aspect. The same 
means which will secure for the Government a body 
of intelligent and upright native servants, will sti- 
mulate the mental activity) and improve the morals 
of the people at large- The Government cannot 
make public employment the reward of distin- 
guished merit, without encouraging merit in all 
who look forward to public employ : it cannot 
open schools for educating its servants, without 
diffusing knowledge among all classes of its 
subjects* Those who take their notions from Eng- 
land, or even from most of the Continental nations, 
can have no conception what an immensely power- 
ful engine, either for good or evil, an Asiatic go- 
vernment is. In India, the Government is every- 
thing. Nearly the whole rental of the country 


passes into its coffers. Its civil and military esta- 
blishments are on the largest scale. The mercan- 
tile, medical, sacerdotal, and other professions, 
which absorb the greater part of our English youth 
of the middle class, are either held in low esteem, 
or are confined, at present, to particular castes ; 
and almost the only idea which a liberally educated 
native has of rising in life, is by attaching himself 
to the public service. The Government, therefore, 
by the power which it possesses of stimulating and 
directing the minds of those who look forward to 
public employ, is able to stimulate and direct the 
mind of the whole nation. The candidates for 
situations in the public service comprise the largest 
and best portion of the, educated class; and the 
educated class always draws after it the rest of the 

A plan has lately been suggested* to the Su- 

* The Sudder Dewanee Adawlut, in their report for 1836', 
strongly represented the necessity of securing a regular supply of 
properly educated young men for employment in the judicial de- 
partment ; and the Education Committee, to whom the subject was 
referred, suggested the plan above described. The remarks of the 
Sudder Dewanee Adawlut, are as follows : 

" The reports of the local authorities generally, however, speak 
favourably of these two grades of native judges. Regarding the 
moonsilft, there appears to be a greater difference of opinion, but, 
under experienced and efficient Judges, the Court entertain hopes 
that the moonsifls will be ultimately found to perform their duty 
in 'A correct and satisfactory manner. 


preme Government, by the Education Committee, 
by which this immensely important influence may 

u With a view, however, of introducing a better educated class of 
individuals into this office, the Court have directed me to state, that 
they are of opinion, that some well-considered system should be 
immediately adopted by Government, for the purpose of securing 
a regular succession of duly qualified native judicial officers. No 
peculiar acquirements arc at pfesent looked for in a native Judge, 
beyond general good character, respectability of family, and 
a competent knowledge of the Persian and Bengalese lan- 
guages. No liberal or polite education, no legal acquirements, 
no knowledge even of the general forms and rules of practice, 
prescribed by the regulations of Government, is generally possessed 
by any candidate for office, save perhaps in the latter instance by 
somo few individuals, who have been attached to the courts in 
subordinate situations, as mohurrers, or moonshees, or vakeels, 
and who are, therefore, well acquainted with the general routine 
of our proceedings, 

" As the readiest mode of improving the present system of no- 
mination, the Court would suggest the appointment of a regular 
professor, at all the Government Colleges, for the purpose of in- 
structing the native youth in the laws and regulations of govern- 
ment, and for enabling the young men brought up at these insti- 
tutions to qualify themselves for the judicial and revenue branches 
of the public service. To each college possessing such a pro- 
fessor, whether, indeed, supported by Government or otherwise, 
and whether in Calcutta or at any city in the interior, one or two 
moonsiflships and uncovenanted deputy collectorships might be 
presented as prizes every year, and these prizes should be bestowed 
on any native youth, above the age of twenty-five years, who 
might be found duly qualified, on public examination, for the 
situation ; the name of the successful candidate should then be 
placed on the records of this court, in order that he might be em- 
ployed in Bengal or Behar, according to his parentage, directly a 
vacancy occurred ; and in the mean time he should be obliged to 


be applied to the development of the mind and 
morals of our subjects, in the most extensive, effec- 
tual, and unobjectionable manner. It is proposed 
that public examinations should be annually held 
at each of the great towns in the Bengal and Agra 
presidencies^ by officers appointed to make the cir- 
cuit of the country for that purpose ; that these 
examinations should be open to all comers, wher- 
ever they may have been educated; that those 
who acquit themselves well should be ranked ac- 
cording to their merit; and that the list so ar- 
ranged, together with the necessary particulars 
regarding the brandies of knowledge in which 
each person distinguished himself, should be sent 
to the neighbouring functionaries, to enable them 
to fill up from it the situations in their gift which 

continue his legal studies at the college, a monthly personal 
allowance of -sixteen or twenty rupees being granted to him by 
Government for bis support. The Court would further recom- 
mend that tho monthly salaries of the moonwfts be fixed at 
150 rupees. The very important duties now confided to the 
native Judges undoubtedly renders the adoption of some system- 
atic plan of education for these officers indwpensrtbly necessary ; &md 
the Court therefore beg to urge that these suggestions may receive 
the early consideration of Government." 

After this, the abolition of the use of Pernian was resolved 
on j and the only real obstacle to the accompHtthmcnt of the wishes 
yf the Judges of the Sudder Dewanee was thus removed. 


fall vacant. The European officers generally take so 
little interest in the disposal of their patronage, 
and are often so much at a loss for qualified can- 
didates, that they would gladly avail themselves 
of this mode of replenishing the lower grades of 
the native service. After the young men had once 
been appointed, their further progress would, of 
course, depend upon their merits and length of 

This plan, it will be observed, rests on a much 
wider basis than the Government seminaries. It 
is intended to encourage and reward mental culti- 
vation wherever it exists ; and to engage in the 
service of the country the best talent the country 
can afford, without any reference to particular places 
of education. The impulse, therefore, will be com- 
municated to all alike. The boy from a public 
school will be brought into competition with the boy 
who has been educated in his father's house. The 
students from the Government colleges will contend 
with the young men brought up in the missionary 
seminaries. The Hindus and Mahommedans will 
vie with Christians of every denomination. There 
will be no distinction made, except that of superior 
merit. The emulation among the young men will 
extend to the conductors of the seminaries at which 
they are trained ; the merits and defects of dif* 


ferent plans of education will become apparent 
from the result of the annual examinations, and 
those which are found to be most successful will 
be generally adopted. The striking effects pro- 
duced by literary competition, when much less free 
than this, and excited by much inferior rewards, 
will give some idea of what may be expected from 
a competition which will be open to all classes of 
our Indian subjects, and will be stimulated by all 
the influence and patronage of the Indian govern- 

But the most decisive proof that the time has 
arrived for taking up the subject of national edu- 
cation is, that all classes of the community are now 
ready to co-operate with the Government. A few 
years ago, the education of the natives was regarded 
by the Europeans either with aversion or contempt, 
as they happened to consider it as a dangerous in- 
terference with native prejudice, or as a chimerical 
undertaking unworthy of a man of sense. Now 
there are few stations at which there are not one or 
more European officers, who would be glad of an 
opportunity of aiding the Committee in the pro- 
secution of its plans. The discussions which 
took place between the advocates of the rival sys- 
tems, by strongly drawing attention to the ques- 
tion, and, in a manner, forcing people to au 


examination of it, greatly contributed to this result. 
All are nowmore or less interestedand well informed 
on the subject; and what is of still more importance, 
all are of one mind about it, and have a settled and 
well understood plan to pursue. Whatever differ- 
ences of opinion may linger among retired Indians 
in England, there are none now in India ; or, at 
least, the adherents of the old system form such 
an exceedingly small minority, that it is unneces- 
sary to mention them when speaking of the gene- 
ral sense of the European community. 

The Missionaries, taking advantage of the 
prevailing feeling, have established numerous ex- 
cellent seminaries, at which many thousand native 
youth are receiving a sound, and in some cases 
a liberal English education. English, Scotch, 
Americans, and Germans, concur in availing them- 
selves of the English language as a powerful in- 
strument of native improvement. English priests, 
lately sent from Rome to take charge of the 
Roman Catholic Christians of Portuguese and 
native descent, have had recourse to the same 
means for enlightening their numerous and de- 
graded flocks. The Portuguese language (another 
instance of the confusion of tongues which has so 
long distracted and dissipated the mind of India) 
has been discarded from the churches and schools : 


an English Liturgy has been introduced, and large 
English seminaries have been established. There 
are also institutions at which the youth of English 
and of mixed English and native descent receive as 
good a scientific and literary education as is consist- 
ent with the early period at which they enter into 
active life. Most of our schoolmasters have been 
drawn from this class; and, as they possess the 
trustworthiness and a great degree of the energy of 
the European character combined with an intimate 
acquaintance with the native habits and language, 
they are no mean auxiliaries in the cause of native 

This harmony of effort, however, would be of 
little avail if it were not founded on a real desire 
on the part of the natives themselves to obtain the 
benefit of European instruction. The curiosity 
of the people is thoroughly roused, and the passion 
for English knowledge has penetrated the most 
obscure, and extended to the most remote parts of 
India. The steam boats, passing up and down the 
Ganges, arc boarded by native boys, begging, not 

* The institutions which have rendered most service m this 
way arc, the Verulam Academy, the Parental Academic fuHti- 
tution, the High School, and the Military Orphan Asylum, 
Similar assistance may now be expected from the noble foundation 
of General Martin, and a largo Proprietary School which h** lately 
been, established in the Himalaya Mountains. 


for money, but for books.* The chiefs of the 
Punjab, a country which has never been subdued by 
the British arms, made so many applications to the 
Political Agent on the frontier to procure an Eng- 
lish education for their children, that the Go- 
vernment has found it necessary to attach a 
schoolmaster to his establishment. The tide of 
literature is even rolling back from India to Per- 
sia, and the Supreme Government lately sent a 
large supply of English books for the use of the 
King of Persia's military seminary, the students 
of which were reported to be actuated by a strong 
zeal for European learning. The extent to which 
the Pasha of Egypt is engaged in enlightening his 
subjects, through the medium of English and the 
other European languages, is too well known to 

* Some gentlemen coming to Calcutta were astonished at the 
eagerness with which they were pressed for books by A troop of 
boys, who boarded the steamer from an obscure place, called 
Comercolly. A Plato was lying on the table, and one of the party 
asked a boy whether that would serve his purpose. " Oh yes," 
he exclaimed, " give me any book ; all I want is a book." The 
gentleman at last hit upon the expedient of cutting up an old 
Quarterly Review, and distributing the articles among them. In 
the evening, when some of the party went ashore, the boys of the 
town flocked round them, expressing their regret that there was 
no English school in the place, and saying that they hoped that 
the Governor-general, to whom they had made an application on 
the subject when he passed on his way up the country, would es- 
tablish one. 


need any detail The time has certainly arrived 
when the ancient debt of civilisation which Europe 
owes to Asia* is about to be repaid ; and the sci- 
ences, cradled in the East and brought to maturity 
in the West., are now by a final effort about to 
overspread the world. f 

* The early civilisation of Greece by settlers from Phoenicia 
and Egypt ; the philosophical systems of Pythagoras and Plato*; 
the knowledge of chemistry, medicine, mid mathematics, which 
emanated in a later age from the Arahiun schools of Cordova 
and Salerno, attest the obligations we nre under to the Eastern 
world. The greatest boon of all, our admirable system of arith- 
metical notation, which bus facilitated in an Incalculable degree 
the improvement of the sciences and the transaction of every 
kind of business for which the use of numbers in requisite, 
is distinctly traceable through the Araks to the Hindus : we call 
it the Arabian, the Arabs call it the Hindu system, and the 
Hindus attribute the invention of it to their gods, It has been 
practised in India from a period which precedes all written and 
traditionary memorials. 

j- It may be as well to mention some of the probable causes of 
the existing state of native feeling on this subject. The find is the 
same which gave rise to the revival of learning, and the cultivation 
of the vernacular languages in Kurope, or the increase in the num- 
ber and importance of the middle chiss of society, External peace, 
internal security of property, arising from a regular administra- 
tion of jxistice, increased facilities to trade, the permanent settle- 
ment of the land revenue of the Lower, and n long settlement of 
that of the Upper Provinces, have all contributed to raise up a class 
between the nabob and the ryot, which derives In consequence from 
the excrcisft ^industry and enterprise, which w powtewied of the lei- 
sure necessary k>r literary pursuits, and which, hem}? a creation of 
our won, is naturally inclined to imitate iw, and to adopt our views, 
Secondly, The people feeling thcmselve* safe in their person 


property, and being relieved from the harassing anxieties which 
daily attend those who live under a barbarous arbitrary govern- 
ment, enjoy that peace of mind, without which it is impossible 
that letters can be successfully cultivated. Thirdly, The natives 
cannot fail to be struck by our moral and intellectual supe- 
riority ; and they are led, by the combined influence of curiosity 
and emulation, to search for the causes of it in our literature. 
This motive has led the Russians and Turks, and other entirely 
independent nations, to cultivate foreign literature; and it cannot, 
therefore, excite wonder that the Hindus, who stand in such a 
close relation to us, should have been influenced by it. Fourthly, 
A liberal English education is the surest road to promotion. It is 
by far the best education the natives can get ; and the Govern- 
ment must always select the best instructed persons that are to be 
had, for the public service. Lastly, The Hindus have always been 
a literary people ; but as the body of the nation were shut out by 
the Brahmins from all participation in their own learning, they 
eagerly avail themselves of what is now offered by us to their 
acceptance, recommended as it is by so many attractions. 


The JEstablishment of a Seminary at each Zillah Sta- 
tion, a necessary Preliminary to further Operations. 
- The Preparation of Books in the Vernacular Lan- 
guages A Law of Copyright required. -~ Native 
Education in the Madras and Bombay Presidencies. 
*~ The Establishment of a comprehensive System of 
public Instruction for the whole of British India 
urgently required. The public Importance of a 
separate Provisioning made for the Prosecution of 
Researches into ancient Asiatic Literature. 

To proceed to practical details ; all we have to do 
is, to follow out the plan which has been steadily 
pursued since March, 1835. Seminaries have been 
established at the head stations of about half the 
Zillahs in the Bengal and Agra presidencies ; and 
the first thing to be done is, to establish similar insti- 
tutions in the remaining forty Zillahs, At the ave- 
rage rate of 250 rupees per mensem for each semi- 
nary, this would require an annual addition to the 
fund of 120,000 rupees, or about <sl 2,000 a~year,* 

* As the supply of educated persons increases, schoolmasters 
will be obtained at lower salaries; and the saving arising from this 
source, and from the failing in of stipends to students, may be 
applied to the improvement of the seminaries. This is in 


Whatever system of popular instruction it may 
hereafter be resolved to organise in India, these 
Zillah seminaries must form the basis of it ; and, 
as some time must be allowed for their opera- 
tion before we can with advantage proceed a 
step further, their early establishment is a mat- 
ter of importance. Every part of xmr domi- 
nions having the same claim iipon us, there is 
exactly the same reason for establishing a cen- 
tral school in one Zillah as in another. In- 
deed, the motives for carrying out the plan 
to its full extent are much stBonger than those 
for originally commencing it.* The inhabitants 
of a Zillah in which a seminary has been for 
some time established, have a very unfair advan- 
tage given them over the inhabitants of the 
neighbouring Zillahs. Calcutta has lately been 
supplying native deputy- collectors to the whole of 
Bengal and Behar, because it was the only place 
at which educated natives were to be obtained in 
any number. This was justified by the emer- 
gency of the case; but, as a general rule, it is 
very desirable to employ the natives as much as 
possible in their own neighbourhood. Strangers, 

pendent of the contributions of the European and native comma*- 
nity, and of the boys themselves, which will never be found defi- 
cient where the Government sets an example of liberality. 
i 2 


invested with power, are looked upon with jealousy; 
and they are generally in a hurry to make what 
they can, and return to their own homes. On the 
other hand, respectable natives are more easily 
induced to take service, and are more under the 
control of public opinion in their own district than 

The next step will be, to extend the system 
from town to country; from the influential few to 
the mass of the people. This part of the subject 
is not of pressing importance, because the mate- 
rials of a national system must be prepared in the 
Zillah seminaries before they can be employed in 
the organisation of the Purgunnah and village 
schools* The youth of the upper and middle 
classes, both in town and country, will receive such 
an education at the head station of the Zillah as 
will make them willing and intelligent auxiliaries 
to us hereafter in extending the same advantages 
to the rest of their countrymen. The Zillah 
seminaries will be the normal schools, in which a 
new set of village schoolmasters will be trained, 
and to which many of the existing schoolmasters 
will be induced to resort to obtain new lights in 
their profession. The books and plans of in- 
struction, which have been tried and found to 
answer at the Zillah seminaries, will be introduced 


into the Purgunnah and village schools. In short, 
the means of every description for establishing a 
system of national instruction, will be accumu- 
lated at these central points; and our future 
operations are likely to be unembarrassed and effi- 
cacious in proportion as this foundation is well 
and securely laid. We have, at present, only to 
do with outlines, but they should be drawn with 
a strict reference to the details which will here- 
after have to be filled in. 

A great deal has been said about the importance 
of preparing books, in the vernacular languages; 
and it has been even urged as a proof that there 
is something unsound in our plan of operations, 
that there is a greater demand for English books 
than for books in the vernacular languages.* This 
objection seems to me to arise froth a disposition 
to anticipate the natural course of events. There 

* It appears from the following contrasted statement, taken 
from the two last biennial reports of the School-book Society, 
that the demand for books in the vernacular languages is in- 
creasing, although not as yet in so great a degree as that for 
English books : 

1832 and 1833. 1834 and 1835. 
Hindusthanee - - 1,077 - 3,384 
Hinduee - - - 1,514 - 4,171 
Bengalee - - - 4,896 - 5,754 
Orissa ... 815 834 

7,302 14,143 

i 3 


is at present only a limited demand for books in 
the vernacular languages. But what is the remedy 
proposed? To print more books. To print more 
books than are wanted, because they are not 
wanted ! This scheme, though in appearance 
more popular, would be, in reality, just as useless 
as that of the Arabic translations : the books would 
rot on the shelves ; and, as they would not be 
read, nothing would be gained by their being in a 
known, instead of an unknown, tongue. The 
chance that anything worth reading will be pro- 
duced by salaried translators, who are certain of 
being paid whether their books are good or bad, 
is also very small indeed. If such a plan were to 
answer in any degree, it would be likely to do so 
at the expense of pitching the national taste at the 
outset at a very low standard. 

In order to create a vernacular literature, we 
must begin by creating a demand for one. The 
adoption of the vernacular language, as the Ian* 
guage of public business, will contribute more to- 
wards the formation of a vernacular literature than 
if the Government were to spend a crore of rupees 
in translating and printing books. It will have 
the same effect as the substitution of English for 
Norman-French in legal proceedings, and for 
Latin in the exercises of religion had in England. 


We must also give a liberal English education to 
the middle and upper classes, in order that we 
may furnish them with both the materials and the 
models for the formation of a national literature. 
In this way, the demand, and the means of supply- 
ing the demand, will grow up together. The class 
of people who, without knowing English, require 
some mental aliment, will become more and more 
extensive : the class who do know English, will 
be more and more induced by pecuniary interest, 
by ambition, by the desire of doing good, to sup- 
ply this aliment. Out of their fulness, from minds 
saturated with English knowledge and tastes 
formed by the study of English masterpieces, 
they will produce, not dull translations, but ori- 
ginal works, suited to the intellectual habits of their 
countrymen. Mediocrity will meet with no encou- 
ragement. Out of many attempts, few will succeed ; 
but those few will lay the foundation of the men- 
tal independence of India, and will oblige even 
those who know English to regard their own lite- 
rature with respect, and to consider it as worthy 
of cultivation for its own sake. 

Latin was formerly upheld as the only proper 

medium for scientific and literary composition. 

Petrarch expected to be known to posterity by 

his Latin poems, which nobody now reads : and of 

i 4 


all Bacon's works, his Essays, which he wrote in 
English as an amusement for his leisure hours, 
are alone in everybody's hands; but, notwith- 
standing this, the modern European literature 
will be found to have taken its great start at 
the time when the cultivation of the classical lan- 
guages was at its height. To check the study 
of Latin at that period would have been to 
check the progress of knowledge, of taste, and of 
curiosity, which, descending lower and lower, at 
last gave rise to the admirable literature of the 
West. To check the study of English, in order 
to force that of the vernacular language, would 
have an equally bad effect upon the nascent lite- 
rature of India. It would retard the process of 
national improvement by a fruitless endeavour 
to have that first, which ought, in the natural 
course of things, to come last: it would have 
the same effect on the increase of knowledge 
which the mistaken policy of some nations has on 
the increase of wealth, who, impatient to have ma- 
nufactures before they come in their own time, 
divert a portion of their capital from the more pro- 
fitable employment of agriculture to the less pro- 
fitable one of manufactures. 

There is, however, one mode in which the 
Government may, without running any risk of en- 


couraging mediocrity, give direct aid to the growth 
of a national literature. The consumption of 
books in the native languages, in the Government 
schools, is already great, and is daily increasing as 
the schools become more numerous and better 
filled. The adoption of any book as a class-book 
in the Government seminaries also establishes its 
reputation, and creates a general demand for it. 
Here then is a certain and perfectly unobjection- 
able mode of encouraging the production of good 
books : only the best books of each kind are 
bought, and they are bought only as they are 
actually wanted; the pupils themselves pay for 
them, and a large number of useful books thus 
annually pass into the hands of the people. When 
particular books are required for the use of the 
Government schools, it would be advisable to make 
the want publicly known, in order that all native 
authors may have an opportunity of supplying it. 
The best among many competitors is likely to pro- 
duce something better worth having than any 
single writer who could be selected, 

A good law of copyright, embracing the whole 
of British India, would now be of great use. The 
want has only lately begun to be felt. Nothing 
was to be made by works in manuscript; and 
printed books were not in sufficient demand to 
i 5 


make the copyright of any value. Now, however, 
large editions of many works, both in English and 
the vernacular languages* are called for; andanxiety 
is felt by publishers on account of their liability to 
be deprived of their profits by piratical editions. 

Although my remarks have been particularly 
directed to the state of tilings in the Bengal and 
Agra presidencies, they are, lor the most part, 
equally applicable to the rest of British India. 
The plan which has been found to be best adapted 
for enlightening the people 1 in Bengal, is not likely 
to be less efficacious at Madras and Bombay. 
Those presidencies will suffer less by the start 
of a few years, which Bengal has had, than they 
will gain by being placed in possession of a well 
devised and well tested plan of proceeding, with- 
out having had any of the trouble or expense of 
making the experiment 

At Madras, where least has been done for native 
education, there are, perhaps, more abundant 
materials and fewer obstacles than in any of the 
other presidencies. Native learning is even more 
thinly spread than in Bengal, and no institutions 
have been established by us to confirm its hold 
upon the country. On the other hand, a colloquial 
knowledge of English is a much more common 
acquirement than it is in Bengal. There are seve- 


ral different languages spoken in the Madras pre- 
sidency, and English has been to a great extent 
adopted as the common medium of intercourse? 
not only between Europeans and natives, but be- 
tween the natives themselves. This circumstance 
must give a permanent impulse to the study of the 
language, and will probably lead to its being more 
commonly used in ordinary conversation, and more 
largely diffused through the native languages in 
the south of India than in any other part of our 
Eastern dominions. The rough materials of a 
system of national education are therefore ready 
to hand in the Madras presidency ; and all we have 
to do is to organise them, and apply them to their 
proper purpose. English is no novelty ; it is in 
great request; thousands already know it: but 
it has hitherto been taught loosely and unsystema- 
tically, and we must bring all the modern improve- 
ments in education to the aid of its easy and correct 
acquisition. It has hitherto been taught merely 
to the extent necessary for carrying on colloquial 
intercourse; but we must enable our subjects to 
cultivate it as the means of obtaining access to all 
the knowledge of Europe. 

At Bombay more has been done for native edu- 
cation. At first, too exclusive attention was paid 
to the vernacular languages ; books for which there 
i 6 


was no demand, were translated at a heavy ex- 
pense; and as the vernacular language only was 
taught in the schools, a fixed and narrow limit 
was placed to the acquisitions of the pupils. This 
plan has since been modified ; and, while proper 
attention is still paid to the vernacular language, 
English is also extensively cultivated: the taste 
for it is said to be rapidly increasing; and as 
the youth of the Bombay Presidency have every 
thing at their disposal which the English language 
contains, they have now an open career before 

It is a striking confirmation of the soundness 
of the prevailing plan of education; that the Ben- 
gal and Bombay Presidencies, although they set 
out from opposite quarters, and preserved no con- 
cert with each other, settled at last on exactly the 
same point. In Bengal we began by giving almost 
exclusive attention to the native classical lan- 
guages, as they did in Bombay to the vernacular 
languages ; and in both canes experience has led to 
a conviction of the value of English, and to its 
having had that prominent place* accorded to it 
which its importance demands. It in time that these 
partial efforts should give place to a genera! plan, 
embracing the whole of British India, The con- 
stitution given to it by the late charter has es- 


tablished the identity of our Indian empire, and 
the Government has since been occupied in remo- 
delling the different departments of administration 
on this principle. All the provinces of this empire 
are to have the same criminal and civil law, the 
same post-office and commercial regulations; and 
it is surely not of less importance that they should 
have the same system of public instruction. Our 
subjects have set out on a new career of improve- 
ment: they are about to have a new character 
imprinted on them. That this national movement 
should be taken under the guidance of the State, 
that the means at our disposal should be equally 
distributed, that each province should profit by 
the experience of all the rest, that there should 
be one power to regulate, to control, to urge the 
indolent, to restrain the over-zealous, to lead on 
the people by the same or corresponding means 
to the same point of improvement, will hardly 
be denied to be as conducive to the welfare of 
our subjects as it will be to the popularity and 
permanency of our dominion over them. 

The Bengal Education Committee was bound 
to keep a single eye to the enlightenment of the 
people, that being the object for which they had 
been associated as a public body, and for which 
the administration of a portion of the reve- 


ime had been committed to their hands. The 
general interests of science formed no part of 
their public charge, but it must not be supposed 
that they were on that account personally indif- 
ferent to them. No men are more disposed than 
the members of the Education Committee to ad- 
mire the exertions of James Prinsop, of Hodgson, 
of Turner, of Masson, or are more anxious to 
contribute to their success in any way that does 
not involve a sacrifice of public duty. The gen- 
tlemen whom I have named, and others who are 
associated with them, are turning the ancient 
Arabic and Sanskrit records to their proper ac- 
count Owing to the vastly superior means now at 
our disposal, they are worse than useless, considered 
as a basis of popular education ; but as a medium 
for investigating the history of the country, and 
the progress of mind and manners during so many 
ages, they arc highly deserving of being studied and 
preserved. These two objects have no more to do 
with each other than the Royal Society has with 
Mr. Wyse's Committee on National Education, or 
the societies for Preserving Welch and Gaelic Lite- 
rature, with the British and Foreign School Society. 
By joining themin a forced and unnatural union 
the progress of both has been retarded, Philo- 
logical and antiquarian research was supported on 


the resources of education. Education was con- 
ducted in a way more adapted for the lecture-room 
of a German university, than for the enlighten- 
ment of benighted Asiatics. The friends of edu- 
cation, in performing the indispensable duty of 
recovering the sum. which had been assigned by 
the state for their object, were very unwillingly 
placed in a state of apparent opposition to the 
interests of oriental research. The more imme- 
diate supporters of the Asiatic Society, in strug- 
gling to retain the interest they had enjoyed in 
this sum, were marshalled against the cause of 
popular education. Since the separation has been 
effected, both parties have pursued their respective 
objects with much greater success than before. 
The Education Committee, uninfluenced by any 
foreign bias, has employed all its disposable funds 
in founding new seminaries. The Asiatic Society, 
forced at last to lean on its natural supporters, 
has been liberally assisted by private contributions; 
and will, it may be hoped, soon receive that aid 
from the public resources to which the public 
importance of its labours so justly entitle it. 

It is much to be desired that this division of 
labour between the departments of general science 
and popular education should receive the sanction 
of the highest authority, and be carried into full 


effect The plan which appears to me best calcu- 
lated to answer every purpose, is, for the Govern- 
ment to attach a Sanskrit professor, with several 
native assistants, to the establishment of the Asiatic 
Society. These persons, selected on account of 
their eminent attainments and known love of science, 
and undisturbed by any other pursuit, might de- 
vote themselves to the investigation of the history, 
antiquities, philosophy, and literature of the East, 
recording the result of their researches in the most 
lasting and available forms. India in undoubtedly 
at the threshold of a now era; and it seems to be 
no less incumbent on us at this period to gather 
up the recollections of the pant, than to provide 
matter of national improvement for the future. 
The Hindu system of learning has formed the 
character of the people up to the present point; 
and it must still be studied, to account for daily 
occurring phenomena of habits and manner*. 
Whatever mental cultivation, whatever taste 
for scientific and literary pursuits him survived 
among the Hindus, is owing to it : they were a 
literary people when we were barbarians; and, 
after centuries of revolution, and anarchy, and 
subjection to foreign rule, they are jtill a literary 
people, now that we have arrived at the highest 
existing point of civilisation. That the 


which has produced these effects should be care- 
fully analysed and recorded in all its different 
parts, is no less required by the interests of science 
in general than by our particular interest as rulers 
of India. The pundits and students of the San- 
skrit College, whose whole time is taken up in 
teaching and learning that language, are quite 
unequal to the task. The Asiatic Society, whose 
proper business it is, are also at present unequal 
to it; they have no machinery for its perform- 
ance : the members of the society are principally 
public officers, overburdened with other duties; 
and they have as yet been obliged to confine their 
attention to the replenishment of their museum, 
^pd the collection of such scattered notices of the 
antiquities of the country as have been sent to them 
by amateur correspondents. The examining and 
laying open of the different branches of Hindu and 
Mahommedan literature, has been of necessity, 
almost entirely neglected; and unless some plan 
be adopted such as I have suggested, it is not 
easy to see how this object (the one for which the 
society was principally founded), can ever be ac- 
complished. Such Arabic and Sanskrit works 
as are worthy of being preserved, might be printed 
under the superintendence of the professor and his 
native assistants ; and the expense might be borne. 


as hitherto, partly by subscription, and partly by 
the sale of the works themselves, without much 
assistance from Government. What the finances 
of the society are not equal to, 5s ? the payment of 
salaries sufficient to secure the whole time of highly 
qualified persons to review and make researches 
into the ancient literature of the country. 

Having made this provision for the preserva- 
tion of Arabic and Sanskrit learning, and satis- 
fied every reasonable wish which either national 
pride or scientific curiosity can suggest, we shall 
be able with more satisfaction to take the requi- 
site steps for the introduction of new knowledge, 
and the creation of a new literature. Every ob- 
ject will have been secured, and all parties wijji 
pursue their respective ends without, interfering, 
and will co-operate without misunderstanding. 



The Political Tendency of the different System of 
Education in use in India. 

THEBE can be no dispute as to what our duty as 
the rulers of India requires us to do. But it has 
been said, and may be said again, that whatever 
our duty may be, it is not our policy to enlighten 
the natives of India; that the sooner they grow 
to man's estate, the sooner they will be able to do 
without us; and that by giving them knowledge, 
we are giving them power, of which they will make 
the first use against ourselves* 

If our interest and our duty were really opposed 
to each other, every good man, every honest Eng- 
lishman, would know which to prefer. Our na- 
tional experience has given us too deep a sense of 
the true ends of government, to allow us to think 
of carrying on the administration of India except 
for the benefit of the people of India. A nation 
which made so great a sacrifice to redeem a few 
hundred thousand negroes from slavery, would 
shudder at the idea of keeping a hundred millions 
of Indians in the bondage of ignorance, with all 


its frightful consequences, by means of a political 
system supported by the revenue taken from the 
Indians themselves. Whether we govern India 
ten or a thousand years, we will do our duty by 
it : we will look, not to the probable duration of 
our trust, but to the satisfactory discharge of it, 
so long as it shall please God to continue it to us. 
Happily, however, we are not on this occasion 
called upon to make any effort of disinterested 
magnanimity. Interest and duty are never really 
separated in the affairs of nations, any more than 
they are in those of individuals; and in this case 
they are indissolubly united, as a very slight ex- 
amination will suffice to show. 

The Arabian or Mahommedan system is based 
on the exercise of power and the indulgence of 
passion, Pride, ambition, the love of rule, and of 
sensual enjoyment, are called in to the aid of re~ 
ligion. The earth is the inheritance of the Faith- 
ful : all besides are infidel usurpers, with whom 
no measures are to be kept, except what policy 
may require. Universal dominion belongs to the 
Mahornmedans by Divine right. Their religion 
obliges them to establish their predominance by 'the 
sword; and those who refuse to conform arc to be 
kept in a state of slavish subjection. The Hindu 
system, although less fierce and aggressive than 


the Mahommedan, is still more exclusive: all 
who are not Hindus are impure outcasts, fit only 
for the most degraded employments; and, of course, 
utterly disqualified for the duties of government, 
which are reserved for the military, under the 
guidance of the priestly caste. " Such is the politi- 
cal tendency of the Arabic and Sanskrit systems 
of learning. Happily for us, these principles exist 
in their full force only in books written in diffi- 
cult languages, and in the minds of a few learned 
men; and they are very faintly reflected in the 
feelings and opinions of the body of the people. 
But what will be thought of that plan of national 
education which would revive them and make 
them popular; would be perpetually reminding 
the Mahommedans that we are infidel usurpers of 
some of the fairest realms of the Faithful, and the 
Hindus, that we are unclean beasts, with whom 
it is a sin and a shame to have any friendly inter- 
course. Our bitterest enemies could not desire 
more than that we should propagate systems of 
learning which excite the strongest feelings of 
human nature against ourselves. 

The spirit of English literature, on the other 
hand, cannot but be favorable to the English con- 
nection. Familiarly acquainted with us by means 
of our literature, the Indian youth almost cease to 


regard us as foreigners. They speak of our great 
men with the same enthusiasm as we do. Edu- 
cated in the same way, interested in the same ob- 
jects, engaged in the same pursuits with ourselves, 
they become more English than Hindus, just as 
the Roman provincials became more Romans than 
Gauls or Italians. What is it that makes us what 
we are, except living and conversing with English 
people, and imbibing English thoughts and habits 
of mind? They do so too : they daily converse 
with the best and wisest Englishmen through the 
medium of their works; and form, perhaps, a 
higher idea of our nation than if their intercourse 
with it were of a more personal kind. Admitted 
behind the scenes, they become acquainted with 
the principles which guide our proceedings ; they 
see how sincerely we study the benefit of India in 
the measures of our administration ; and from vio- 
lent opponents, or sullen conformists, they are 
converted into zealous and intelligent co-operators 
with us. They learn to make a proper use of the 
freedom of discussion which exists under our go- 
vernment, by observing how we use it ourselves; 
and they cease to think of violent remedies, be- 
cause they are convinced that there is no indis- 
position on our part to satisfy every real want of 
the country. Dishonest and bad rulers alone de- 


rive any advantage from the ignorance of their 
subjects. As long as we study the benefit of 
India in our measures, the confidence and affec- 
tion of the people will increase in proportion to 
their knowledge of us. 

But this is not all. There is a principle in 
human nature which impels all mankind to aim at 
improving their condition : every individual has 
his plan of happiness : every community has its 
ideas of securing the national honour and pros- 
perity. This powerful and universal principle, in 
some shape or other, is in a state of constant 
activity ; and if it be not enlisted on our side, it must 
be arrayed against us. As long as the natives 
arc left to brood over their former independence, 
their sole specific for improving their condition is, 
the immediate and total expulsion of the English. 
A native patriot of the old school has no notion of 
any thing beyond this : his attention has never 
been called to any other mode of restoring the 
dignity and prosperity of his country. It is only 
by the infusion of European ideas, that a new di- 
rection can be given to the national views. The 
young men, brought up at our seminaries, turn 
with contempt from the barbarous despotisms 
under which their ancestors groaned, to the pros- 
pect of improving their national institutions on 


the English model. Instead of regarding us with 
dislike, they court our society, and look upon us 
as their natural protectors and benefactors : the 
summit of their ambition is, to resemble us ; and, 
under our auspices, they hope to elevate the cha- 
racter of their countrymen, and to prepare them 
by gradual steps for the enjoyment of a well- 
regulated and therefore a secure and a happy 
independence. So far from having the idea of 
driving the English into the sea uppermost in 
their minds, they have no notion of any improve- 
ment but such as rivets their connection with the 
English, and makes them dependent on English 
protection and instruction. In the re-establish- 
ment of the old native governments they see only 
the destruction of their most cherished hopes, and 
a state of great personal insecurity for themselves. 
The existing connection between two such dis- 
tant countries as England and India, cannot, in 
the nature of things, be permanent : no effort of 
policy can prevent the natives from ultimately 
regaining their independence. But there are two 
ways of arriving at this point. One of these is, 
through the medium f revolution ; the other, 
through that of reform. In one, the forward 
movement is sudden and violent ; in the other, it 
is gradual and peaceable. One must end in a 


complete alienation of mind and separation of 
interests between ourselves and the natives ; the 
other iu a permanent alliance, founded on mutual 
benefit and good-will. 

The only means at our disposal for preventing 
the one and securing the other class of results is, 
to set the natives on a process of European im- 
provement, to which they are already sufficiently 
inclined. They will then cease to desire and aim 
at independence on the old Indian footing. A 
sudden change will then be impossible; and along 
continuance of our present connection with India 
will even be assured to us. A Mahratta or 
Mahommedan despotism might be re-established 
in a month ; but a century would scarcely suffice 
to prepare the people for self-government on the 
European model. The political education of a 
nation must be a work of time ; and while it is in 
progress, we shall be as safe as it will be possible 
for us to be. The natives will not rise against us, 
because we shall stoop to raise them : there will be 
no reaction, because there will be no pressure : the 
national activity will be fully and harmlessly em- 
ployed in acquiring and difRising European know- 
ledge, and in naturalising European institutions. 
The educated classes, knowing that the elevation 
of their country on these principles can only be 


worked out under our protection, will naturally 
cling to us. They even now do so. There is no 
class of our subjects to whom we are so thoroughly 
necessary as those whose opinions have been cast 
in the English mould: they are spoiled for a 
purely native regime ; they have every thing to fear 
from the premature establishment of a native 
government; their education would mark them 
out for persecution: tin 1 feelings of independ- 
ence, the literary and scientific pursuits, the 
plans of improvement in which they indulged un- 
der our government, must be exchanged lor the 
servility and prostration of mind which character- 
ise an Asiatic court. This class is at present a 
small minority, but it is continually receiving ac- 
cessions from the youth who an* brought up at the 
different English seminaries. It will in time be- 
come the majority; and it will then be necessary 
to modify the political institutions to suit the 
increased intelligence of the people, and their ca- 
pacity for self-government. 

The change will thus be peaceably and gradu- 
ally effected: there will be no struggle, no 
mutual exasperation; the natives will have in- 
dependence, after first learning how to make a 
good use of it: we shall exchange profitable sub- 
jects for still more profitable allies. The present 


administrative connection benefits families, but a 
strict commercial union between the first manu- 
facturing and the first producing country in the 
world, would be a solid foundation of strength 


and prosperity to our whole nation. If this course 
be adopted, there will, properly speaking, be no 
separation. A precarious and temporary relation 
will almost imperceptibly pass into another far 
more durable and beneficial. Trained by us to 
happiness and independence, and endowed with 
our learning and our political institutions, India 
will remain the proudest monument of British 
benevolence; and we shall long continue to reap, 
in the affectionate attachment of the people, and in 
a great commercial intercourse with their splendid 
country,* the fruit of that liberal and enlight- 
ened policy which suggested to us this line of 

In following this course we should be trying no 
new experiment. The Romans at once civilised 

* The present trade with India can give no idea of what it is 
capable of becoming : the productive powers of the country are 
immense: the population of British India alone, without in- 
cluding the native States, is more than three times that of all the 
rest of the British Empire. By governing well, and promoting 
to the utmost of our power the growth of wealth, intelligence, and 
enterprise in its vast population, we shall be able to make India 
a source of wealth and strength to our nation in time to come, 
with which nothing in our past history furnishes any parallel. 
K 2 


the nations of Europe, and attached them to their 
rule by Romanising them ; or, in other words, by 
educating them in the Roman literature and arts, 
and teaching them to emulate their conquerors in- 
.stead of opposing them. Acquisitions made by 
superiority in war, were consolidated by superio- 
rity in the arts of peace ; and the remembrance of 
the original violence was lost in that of the bene- 
fits which resulted from it. The provincials of 
Italy, Spain, Africa, and Gaul, having no ambi- 
tion except to imitate the Romans, and to share 
their privileges with them, remained to the last 
faithful subjects of the empire; and the union was 
at last dissolved, not by internal revolt, but by the 
shock of external violence, which involved con- 
querors and conquered in one common overthrow. 
The Indians will, I hope, soon stand in the same 
position towards us in which we once stood towards 
the Romans. Tacitus informs us, that it was the 
policy of Julius Agricola to instruct the sons of 
the leading men among the Britons in the litera- 
ture and science of Rome, and to give them a taste 
for the refinements of Roman civilisation.* We 

* The words of Tacitus are, " Jam vero principum filios libera- 
libus artibus erudire, et ingenia Britannorum studiis Gallorum an- 
teferre, ut qui rnodo linguam Romanam abnuebantj eloquentiam 
concupiscerent. Inde etiam habitus nostri honor et frcquens toga. 
Paulatimque discessum ad delinimenta vitioram, porticus et bal- 


all know how well this plan answered. From being 
obstinate enemies, the Britons soon became attached 
and confiding friends ; and they made more stre- 
nuous efforts to retain the Romans, than their an- 
cestors had done to resist their invasion. It will 
be a shame to us if, with our greatly superior 
advantages, we also do not make our premature de- 
parture be dreaded as a calamity. It must not be- 
said in after ages, that " the groans of the Britons" 
were elicited by the breaking up of the Roman 
empire; and the groans of the Indians by the con- 
tinued existence of the British. 

We may also take a lesson from the Mahomme- 
tans, whose conquests have been so extensive and 
so permanent. From the Indian Archipelago to 
Portugal, Arabic was established as the language 
of religion, of literature, and of law ; the vernacu- 
lar tongues were saturated with it; and the youth 
of the conquered countries soon began to vie with 
their first instructors in every branch of Mahom- 
medau learning. A polite education was under- 
stood to mean a Mahommedan education; and the 
most cultivated and active minds were every where 
engaged on the side of the Mahommedan system. 

nea ct eonviviorum clegantiam ; idque apud imperitos humanitas 
vocabatur cum pars servitutis esset." 

K 3 


The Emperor Akbar followed up this policy in India. 
Arabicised Persian was adopted as the language of 
his dynasty ; and the direction thereby given to the 
national sympathies and ideas greatly contributed 
to produce that feeling of veneration for the 
family which has long survived the loss of its 
power. This feeling, which in Europe would be 
called loyalty, is common to those who have been 
brought up in the old learning, but is very rarely 
found in connection with an English education* 
The policy of our predecessors, although seldom 
worthy of imitation s was both very sound and very 
successful in this respect If we adopt the same 
policy, it will be more beneficial to the natives in 
proportion as English contains a greater fund of 
true knowledge than Arabic and Persian : and it 
will be more beneficial to us in proportion as the 
natives will study English more zealously and ex- 
tensively than they did Arabic and Persian, and 
will be more completely changed by it in feeling 
and opinion. 

These views were not worked out by reflection, 
but were forced on me by actual observation and 
experience. I passed some years in parts of India, 
where, owing to the comparative novelty of our 
rule and to the absence of any attempt to alter the 
current of native feeling, the national habits of 


thinking remained unchanged. There, high and 
low, rich and poor, had only one idea of improving 
their political condition. The upper classes lived 
upon the prospect of regaining their former pre- 
eminence ; and the lower, upon that of having the 
avenues to wealth and distinction re-opened to them 
by the re-establishment of a native government. 
Even sensible and comparatively well affected na- 
tives had no notion that there was any remedy for 
the existing depressed state of their nation except 
the sudden and absolute expulsion of the English. 
After that, I resided for some years in Bengal, and 
there I found quite another set of ideas prevalent 
among the educated natives. Instead of thinking 
of cutting the throats of the English, they were 
aspiring to sit with them on the grand jury or on 
the bench of magistrates. Instead of speculating 
on Punjab or Nepaulese politics, they were dis- 
cussing the advantages of printing and free discus- 
sion, in oratorical English speeches, at debating 
societies which they had established among them- 
selves. The most sanguine dimly looked forward 
in the distant future to the establishment of a 
national representative assembly as the consum- 
mation of their hopes all of them being fully 
sensible that these plans of improvement could 
only be worked out with the aid and protection of 
K 4 


the British Government by the gradual improve- 
ment of their countrymen in knowledge and 
morality ; and that the re-establishment of a Ma- 
hornmedan or any other native regimewp^ildatonce 
render all such views impracticable and ridiculous. 
No doubt, both these schemes of national im- 
provement suppose the termination of the English 
rule: but while that event is the beginning of 
one, it is only the conclusion of the other. In one, 
the sudden and violent overthrow of our govern- 
ment is a necessary preliminary : in the other, a 
long continuance of our administration, and the 
gradual withdrawal of it as the people become fit 
to govern themselves, are equally indispensable. 

Our native army is justly regarded as the pillar 
of our Indian empire ; and no plan of benefiting 
either the natives or ourselves can be worth any- 
thing which does not rest on the supposition that 
this pillar will remain unbroken. It is therefore 
of importance to inquire how this essential ele- 
ment of power is likely to be affected by the 
course of policy which has been described. The 
Indian army is made up of two entirely distinct 
parts ; the English officers, and the native officers 
and men. The former will, under any circum- 
stances, stand firm to their national interests: 
the latter will be animated by the feelings of the 


class of society from which they are drawn, except 
so fur as those feelings may be modified by pro- 
fessional interests and habits. The native officers 
rise from the ranks ; and the ranks are recruited 
from the labouring class, which is the last that 
will be affected by any system of national edu- 
cation. Not one in five hundred of the boys 
who are instructed in the Zillah seminaries, will 
enlist in the army. If the Sepoys are educated 
anywhere, it must be in the village schools; and 
the organisation of those schools will be the con- 
cluding measure of the series. The instruction 
given to the labouring class can never be more 
than merely elementary. They have not leisure 
for more. But, such as it is, they will be indebted 
for it to us; and as it will form part of a system 
established and superintended by ourselves, we 
shall lake care that it is of a kind calculated to in- 
spire feelings of attachment to the British connec- 
tion. After this, the young men who enlist in the 
army will become imbued with the military spirit, 
and moulded by the habits of military obedience. 
I leave to others to judge whether this training is 
calculated to make better and more attached, or 
worse and more disaffected, soldiers than the state 
of entire neglect, as regards their moral and in- 
tellectual improvement, in which the whole class 
K 5 


are at present left. I never heard that the edu- 
cation given in the national schools unfitted the 
common people of England for the ranks of the 
army; although the inducements to honourable 
and faithful service, which are open to them after 
they enter the army, are much inferior to those 
which are held out to our Sepoys. 

Religious instruction forms no part of the ob- 
ject of the Government seminaries. It would be 
impossible for the State to interfere at all with 
native education on any other condition ; and this 
is now so well understood, that religious jealousy 
offers no obstruction to our success. The general 
favour with which English education is regarded, 
and the multitudes who flock to our schools, prove 
this to be the case. The Brahmins, it is true? 
ruled supreme over the old system. It was 
moulded for the express purpose of enabling them 
to hold the minds of men in thraldom ; and ages 
had fixed the stamp of solidity upon it. Upon 
this ground they were unassailable. But popular 
education, through the medium of the English 
language, is an entirely new element, with which 
they are incapable of dealing. It did not enter 
into the calculation of the founders of their sys- 
tem; and they have no machinery to oppose to it. 
Although they have been priest-ridden for ages. 


the people of India are, for all purposes of im- 
provement, a new, and more than a new, people. 
Their appetite for knowledge has been whetted 
by their long-compelled fast ; and aware of the 
superiority of the new learning, they devour it 
more greedily than they ever would have done 
Sanskrit lore, even if that lore had not been with- 
held from them : they bring to the task, vacant 
minds and excited curiosity, absence of prejudice, 
and an inextinguishable thirst for information. 
They cannot return under the dominion of the 
Brahmins. The spell has been for ever broken. 
Hinduism is not a religion which will bear examin- 
ation. It is so entirely destitute of any thing like 
evidence, and is identified with so many gross 
immoralities and physical absurdities, that it gives 
way at oixce before the light of European science. 
Mahommedanism is made of tougher materials; 
yet, even a Mahommedan youth who has received 
an English education is a very different person 
from one who has been taught according to the 
perfect manner of the law of his fathers. As this 
change advances, India will become quite another 
country: nothing more will be heard of excit- 
able religious feelings : priestcraft will no longer 
be able to work by ignorance: knowledge and 
power will pass from a dominant caste to the 
K 6 


people themselves ; the whole nation will co-operate 
with us in reforming institutions), the possibility 
of altering which could never have been con- 
templated if events had taken any other course ; 
and many causes will concur to introduce a more 
wholesome state of morals, which, of all the 
changes that can take place, is the one in which 
the public welfare is most concerned. 

There has been a time at which each of the 
other branches of the public service has particu- 
larly commanded attention. The commercial, 
the political, the judicial, the revenue departments, 
have in turn been the subject of special consider- 
ation; and decisive steps have been taken to put 
them on a satisfactory footing. My object will 
be sufficiently attained if I succeed in producing 
a conviction that the time has arrived for taking 
up the question of public instruction in the same 
spirit, and with the same determination to employ 
whatever means may be requisite for accomplishing 
the object in. view. The absence of any sensible 
proof that, increased taxation is attended with any 
proportionate benefit to India, has long been ex- 
tremely disheartening both to the natives and to 
the European public officers serving in that coun- 
try.* 1 ' The entire abolition of the transit duties, 

* A large proportion of the land in the Bengal and Agra Pre- 
sidencies is held tux-frets hut, although nothing can be won* 


and the establishment of an adequate 
public instruction, would furnish this proof^ 
would excite the warmest gratitude of every body 
who from any cause feels interested in the welfare 
of India. The interest of a single million sterlino- *, 

o o ' 

in addition to what is already expended, would be 
sufficient to answer every present purpose as far 
as education is concerned. Even on the narrow- 
est view of national interest, a million could not 
be better invested, It would ensure the moral and 
intellectual emancipation of the people of India, 
and would render them at once attached to our 
rule and worthy of our alliance. 

unreasonable than that persons who benefit by the protection of 
the Government should contribute nothing to its support, and 
throw the whole burden on the rest, it is impossible at present to 
induce the natives to view the subject m this light. Their in- 
variable answer is, that while it is certain that some will be worse 
of, they see no reason to suppose that they will themselves be 
better off if the exempted lands are brought under contribution. 

* The Parliamentary assignment of ten thousand pounds a 
year still remains to be accounted for to the Committee of 
public instruction, from July 1813 to May 1821, with compound 
interest up to the date of payment. 


Extract from the Report of the Committee appointed by 
the Indian Government to inquire into the State of 
Medical Education, 

AGREEABLY to your Lordship's direction to that effect, we 
called upon Mr. Tytler to prepare a synopsis ofwhat he con- 
ceives the pupils at the Institution should be taught in the 
different branches of medical science. This document, ac- 
cording to our view of it, does not contain by any means such 
a comprehensive and improved scheme of education as the 
circumstances of the case indicate the absolute necessity of. 
Leaving it entirely out of the question, then, at present, we 
would very respectfully submit to your Lordship in council 
our serious opinion, that the best mode of fulfilling the great 
ends under consideration, is for the state to found a Medi- 
cal College for the education of natives ; in which the various 
branches of medical science cultivated in Europe should be 
taught, and as near as possible on the most approved Euro- 
pean system ; the basis of which system should be a reading 
and writing knowledge on the part of candidate pupils of the 
English language, and the like knowledge of Hindustanee or 
Bengallee, and a knowledge of arithmetic ; inclusive, of 
course, of proper qualifications as to health, age, and re- 
spectability of conduct. The Government might select from 
the various young men, who should pass the final examina- 
tion, the most distinguished and deserving, for filling up va- 


cancies as sub-assistant surgeons. A knowledge of the Eng- 
lish language, we consider as a sine qua no?i, because that 
language combines within itself the circle of all the sciences, 
and incalculable wealth of printed works and illustrations ; 
circumstances that give it obvious advantages over the ori- 
ental languages, in which are only to be found the crudest 
elements of science, or the most irrational substitutes for it. 
Of the perfect feasibility of such a proposal, we do not 
entertain a doubt : nevertheless, like any other, it will be 
found to divide the opinions of men of talent and experience. 
These will divide into an Oriental and an English party. 
Mr. Tytler's long replies have imposed upon us the neces- 
sity of entering at greater length into the argument respect- 
ing the feasibility of the contemplated plan, than we could 
have wished. We beg to apologise to your Lordship for 
this circumstance, but as Mr, Tytler, instead of giving brief 
and simple answers to our questions, preferred committing 
them to paper in the form of long minutes ; it became incum- 
bent upon us to offer something in the way of refutation. 
The determined Orientalist having himself acquired the 
Sanscrit and the Arabic, at the cost of much and severe ap- 
plication, as well as of pecuniary expense, will view with 
great repugnance a suggestion of teaching science in such a 
way as may cast his peculiar pursuits into the shade, and in- 
dependent of a language which he reveres as classical. The 
advocate for the substitution of the English language, on 
the other hand, will doubt whether the whole stores of 
Eastern literature have enabled us to ascertain a single fact 
of the least consequence towards the history of the ancient 
world ; whether they have tended to improve morality, or 
to extend science , or whether, with the exception of what 
the Arabian physicians derived from the Greeks, the Arabic 
contains a sufficient body of scientific information to reward 
the modern medical student for all the labour and attention 
that would be much more profitably bestowed on the study 


of the English language ; and lastly, whether the modicum 
of unscientific medical literature contained in the Sanscrit is 
worth undergoing the enormous trouble of acquiring that 

Unlike the languages of Europe, which are keys to vast 
intellectual treasures, bountifully to reward the literary 
inquirer, those of the East, save to a limited extent in poetry 
and romance, may bo said, without exaggeration, to be next 
to barren. For history and science, then, and all that es- 
sentially refines and adorns, we must not look to Oriental 

Mr. TV tier has favoured us with his opinions, on the ques- 
tion under consideration, at great length. The Rev. Mr. Duff, 
whose experience in instructing native youth is extensive 
ami valuable, has also obliged us with his sentiments on the 
subject j which are entirely at issue with those of Mr. Tytler, 
who takes up the Oriental side of the question with equal 
ardour and ingenuity. 

Mr, TV tier denies that a system of educating the natives 
through the medium of English would be in the least more 
comprehensive, or by any means so much so, as one carried 
on iu the native languages (Mr. Tytler, in that phrase in- 
cluding Sanscrit, Arabic, and Persian) ; and considers it wholly 
inexpedient as a general measure. 

The Rev. Mr. Duff, on the other hand, although acknow- 
ledging that the native languages, by which we understand 
the Bengallee in the lower provinces, and the Oordoo in the 
higher, alone are available for imparting an elementary edu- 
cation to the mass of the people, affirms that the popular 
language does not afford an adequate medium for conunui 
nkating a knowledge of the higher departments of literature 
and Hcicncc, &c. No original works of the description, 
wanted," he observes, "have yet appeared in the native 
languages; and though much of a highly useful nature has 
been provided through European talent and perseverance 


no translations have been made in any degree sufficient to 
supply materials for the prosecution of the higher object 
contemplated ; neither is it likely, in the nature of things, that 
either by original publications, or translations of standard 
works, the deficiency can be fully or adequately remedied, for 
such a number of years to come, as may leave the whole of 
the present generation sleeping with their fathers." ( Answer 
to Question 20, p. 17.) 

Mr. Tytler's reasons for his unfavourable opinion, in regard 
to the proposed plan, arise, he informs us, partly from the 
nature of language in general, and partly from the intrinsic 
difficulty of English itself. The difficulty, it strikes us, is 
magnified in Mr, Tytler's imagination, and at any rate can 
scarcely be greater than that of acquiring Arabic and San- 
scrit, which are about as foreign to the body of the people as 
English. " A bare knowledge of the English," observes 
Mr. Tytlcr, " or of the words for objects, is plainly no in- 
crease of knowledge, unless it be accompanied with some 
additional information respecting the objects of which the 
words are the signs." This is so self-evident a truism, that 
we are rather surprised Mr. Tytler should deem the stating 
of it of any use to his argument. The mere capability of 
uttering the word oj)ium 9 for instance, would be of little use, 
unless accompanied by a knowledge of the qualities of that 
drug. It is not with a view to recommend a knowledge of 
mere words that we troubled Mr. Tytler for his opinion, and 
have now the honour of addressing your Lordship; but to 
rescue, if possible, the course of native medical education 
from this its pervading and crying evil ; for assuredly, 
nothing, that has yet been made manifest to us tends to show 
that the pupils of the Institution, under the present system, 
acquire much beyond mere words j or to demonstrate, that 
an acquaintance with Sanscrit and Arabic vocables will give 
better ideas of things important to be known than English. 
In fact, to teach English science, English words must be 


used ; or, in their stead, Arabic and Sanscrit ones must be 
coined. With the highest opinion of Mr. Tytler's talents, 
acquirements, and zeal, and the greatest respect for his cha- 
racter, yet must we not be blinded to a certain degree of 
partisanship, which unconsciously, we doubt not, has ap- 
parently carped his otherwise excellent judgment on this 
question. A discrepancy in his opinions on this subject, 
however, appears to exist; for he would, to a certain extent, 
teach the pupils on English principles. If your Lordship 
will turn to Mr. Teller's synopsis, it will there be seen, that 
he proposes to tench the pupils the Latin and English names 
of the corporeal organs, and of the articles of the materia 
medica. For this purpose he would instruct them in the 
English system of spelling and pronunciation, in the declen- 
sion of Latin nouns, and their rules of concordance, He 
would, in a word, kail them to the half-way house of English 
education, and there stop. 

" English " proceeds Mr. Tytler, " is one of the most 
difficult of all languages, and the most diversified in its ori- 
gin, It arises from three sources Saxon, Latin, and 
Norman-French, Its words and idioms vary in accordance 
with these three. Ileucc, a correct knowledge of it can be 
obtained only by a certain degree of knowledge of all the 
origmuW For the attainment of a hypercritical or highly 
scholastic knowledge, such as is not possessed by one Eng- 
lishman out of a hundred, Mr, Tytler's position may be 
readily acceded to. How many thousands are there, how- 
ever, of Englishmen, persons of ability and intelligence in 
vftuoitH walks of active usefulness, who know nothing, or 
next to nothing, of pure Saxon, Latin, and Norman-French ? 
Nay, there is reason to suppose that there arc not a few 
ikilful and experienced surgeons not better versed in these 
languages, but who are valuable men in the profession not- 
withstanding. Will a native sub-assistant surgeon be the less 
capable of being taught to amputate a limb, because he can- 


not give the critical etymology of the words knife, limb, cut f 
Surely the great ends of life are not to stand still for want of 
knowledge of scholastic roots ? It would be superfluous to 
point out, in a more elaborate manner, how very overstrained, 
and inapplicable to general experience, Mr. Tytler's argu- 
ment is. 

As very apposite to the subject under consideration, \ve 
beg to submit an extract or two from a forcible article by 
the late Dr. Duncan, jun., on Medical Education, which was 
published in the Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal 
for 1827. " The knowledge of languages, in itself, derives 
its chief utility from its facilitating the acquisition of useful 
knowledge ; and, therefore, as the mind may be nearly 
equally disciplined during the acquisition of any one language 
as of any other, their utility is directly proportional to the 
value of the information contained in the books written in 
them." Tried by this test, how utterly mispent must be the 
time devoted by the native medical student to the study of 
Arabic, Sanscrit, and Persian ! " It is argued," continues 
the article quoted, " in favour of the study of the Greek 
language, that it is the language of the fathers of physic; 
and that the terms of medical art have been almost all 
borrowed from it and the Latin j and that it seems impossi- 
ble to understand properly their meaning, without possessing 
some knowledge of the sources from which they have been 
derived." The first argument would be nearly equally conclu- 
sive in favour of the Arabic, that physicians might read Avi- 
cenna and Rhazes in the original; and with regard to the last, 
we shall reply, on the authority of Dugald Stewart. " It is in 
many cases a fortunate circumstance when the words we 
employ have lost their pedigree, or (what amounts nearly to 
the same thing,) when it can be traced by those alone who 
are skilled in ancient and modern languages. Such words 
have in their favour the sanction of immemorial usage, and 


the obscurity of their history"prevcnts them from misleading 
the imagination, by recalling to it the objects or phenomena 
to which they owed their origin. The notions, accordingly, 
we annex to them, may be expected to be peculiarly precise 
and definite." (Stewart's Phil. Essay, p. 184.) Indeed all at- 
tempts at descriptive terminology have utterly failed, and have 
impeded, instead of advancing, the progress of knowledge, 
** Medicine (observes the same eminent writer, in another 
place,) is a practical profession. That knowledge is most 
essential to its students, which renders them the most useful 
servants of the public ; and all reputation for extrinsic learn- 
ing (such, for instance, as Sanscrit and Arabic,) which is ac- 
quired at the expense of practical skill, is meretricious, and 
deceives the public, by dazzling their judgment." 

Although Mr. Tytler has throughout, unconsciously to 
himself, we doubt not, overstrained his argument, yet is there 
one passage which, we are free to confess, trenches on the 
extravagant. " The great sources of our language," he states, 
<c must be shown; the Saxon, the Latin, and the French. We 
nmsl explain what words and what idioms are derived from 
each, and what changes they have undergone in their pas- 
sage. Till this be all done, difficult as it may seem, we may 
by much practice impress upon the natives a sort of jargon, 
and agree to call it English ; but it will bear scarcely more 
resemblance to real English than to the dialect of the Hot- 
tentots.'* In a word, if we do not make lexicographers of 
native sub-assistant surgeons, they will not be able to set a 
fracture, or to prescribe a dose of calomel ; and their Eng- 
lish remarks or directions, though perfectly intelligible, will 
amount, in fact, to nothing but a Hottentot jargon! Need 
we, in refutation of this exaggerated view, remind your Lord- 
ship, that there are many respectable native gentlemen in 
(uleuttu, who both speak and write English correctly and 
fluently V The works of the late Hamuiohan Roy were not 


written in a Hottentot dialect ; and at this moment there are 
three newspapers in Calcutta printed in the English language, 
and yet edited by natives. Why should not other native stu- 
dents be equally successful with those alluded to ? We 
readily grant that much is to be yet done to render the Eng- 
lish language more popular in India ; but assuredly the most 
likely way of effecting this very desirable end, is not to be- 
stow a premium upon the study of the Arabic, Sanscrit, and 
Persian, and to close the portal of employment to the Eng- 
lish student. 

According to Mr. Tytler, it is not only the difficulty of 
acquiring the English, which is such a formidable obstacle in 
the way of the learner, but the almost insurmountable one of 
finding properly qualified English teachers. We beg to refer 
your lordship to his observations on this head, contenting 
ourselves with the remark, that if English is not to be taught 
to native medical students, until such an Utopian selection of 
schoolmasters as Mr. Tytler indicates be made, then must 
the English language, and the treasures of scientific know- 
ledge it contains, belong to them a fountain sealed. 

Mr. Tytler has several elaborate comments on the study 
of Greek and Latin, the scope of which is to show, that these 
languages have a greater affinity to the English language, than 
English has to Sanscrit, Arabic, and Persian. The argument 
is ingenious, but far from conclusive. Latin and Greek, in- 
deed, were the languages of the learned in Europe, as Ara- 
bic and Sanscrit are of the learned in India. There the 
parallel ends. English, however, enjoys an advantage that 
Latin did not at the epoch alluded to by Mr. Tytler. It 
is a living language ; it is the language of a great people, 
many of whom, it may now be expected, will settle in this 
country ; it is also the language of the governing power. It 
is not too much to expect that the time is not far distant 
when English will become much more popular than it is, and 


when to speak and write it correctly will be deemed a dis- 
tinguishing privilege. Let English have fair play, and be 
placed at least upon a par with Sancrit, Arabic, and Persian, 
and it will become manifest to the most indifferent observer, 
that the natives study the latter, not because they are the 
best media for instruction, but because they lead to employ- 
ment and competency, which the English does not. Perhaps 
an exception should be stated with reference to the Sanscrit- 
judging from a recent memorial of a number of Hindu youths 
to the secretary of the sub-committee to the Sanscrit College, 
representing, that after many years spent in the study of 
Sancrit, they are in a destitute condition, as they can find 
neither employment nor consideration among their country- 

So long as European literature was confined to Latin, 
Mr, Tytler estimates the attempts of our ancestors as mere 
forced imitations of the classics, the far greater part of which 
are now deservedly forgotten. Supposing the fact to be even 
as stated, it cuts both ways ; and we may, by a parity of rea- 
soning, assume, that so long as Eastern literature is confined 
to Sanscrit, Arabic, and Persian, the writings of Indian 
students will be mere forced imitations of the Sanscrit, Ara- 
bic, and Persian classics. But Mr. Tytler is a great deal too 
sweeping in his remarks ; for many of the works of our an- 
cestors in Bc'umec, morals, and poetry, that were written in 
Latin, so far from being forgotten, are held in the highest 
estimation, even at this day, and arc remarkable no less for 
strength of reasoning than for purity and elegance of expres- 
sion. We shall be perfectly content if native students should 
be found to think as justly, and write as beautifully, in English, 
as Buchanan, Bacon, and various others did in Latin ; or, to 
conic nearer our own times, and in a professional walk, as 
Harvey, tfydenham, Boerhaave, Ilaller, Hebcrden, and Gre- 
gory did, in the same language. 


It should be borne in mind, that when Latin was, it may 
be said, the cradle of science, the English language had not 
attained thnt fulness and correctness of which it can now 
legitimately boast. The style of vernacular writers was not 
formed, being quaint, pedantic, and vitiated; composition 
was in its infancy, and there were but few writers. The 
times, too, were far from favourable to the cultivation of 

To compare English composition as it was in those days, 
with what it afterwards became, would be to institute a com- 
parison between a Hindoo figure-maker and Canova. Ever 
since the Reformation, the 'English language has been ad- 
vancing to its present magnificent state of universality, 
copiousness, and beauty. It would, indeed, be a strange 
thing, if in our day, when more works are published in a year 
than were in the olden time printed in half a century, the 
native youth of India, who may turn to the study of English, 
should, in defiance of the standard works put into their 
hands, and in spite of precept and example, follow such pe- 
dantic and vitiated models as those alluded to by Mr, Tvtler. 
Facts daily occurring around us, demonstrate the ground- 
lessness of such a fear. 

" As it was in Europe," contends Mr. Tytlcr, " so it \\ill 
be with the English productions of the native's of India; they 
will be a mere patchwork of sentences extracted from the 
few English books with which their authors are acquainted." 
Mr. Tytlcr should at least have shown, that, to produce Mich 
an effect, the circumstances were precisely the same in the 
two countries. How he has reached his postulate, he has 
not condescended to say ; nor JH it of much importance to 
know ; for it is, after all, a hypothetical assumption. In re- 
commending that native medical Htndents should possess u 
knowledge of English, we are swayed by u hope, not of their 
writing books, good or bad, but of their thoroughly under- 
standing and digesting valuable works in that language, coin- 


prising as it does an inestimable body of scientific information; 
and in progress of time, of their translating them into the 
vernacular tongues of India, for the benefit of their country- 
men. We wish them to be able to drink at the fountain- 
head, instead of depending to allay their mental thirst with 
driblets of translations, occasionally from the hands of an 

But the exclusive study of English, Mr. Tytler deems, 
will be chargeable with producing an effect which he greatly 
deprecates, It must necessarily, he thinks, discourage the 
natives from the cultivation of their own tongues. Were 
Arabic and Persian their own tongues, there would be some 
show of reason in the objection ; but when we bear in mind 
that they are as foreign to the people as English, its validity 
vanishes at once. To the great body of the people, too, the 
Sanscrit is in effect quite a foreign language. Of the absorp- 
tion of that language we need have no fear, so long as it is 
the interest of the Brahmins to foster it. But if the thing 
were possible, we are by no means disposed to view the 
substitution of English for these tongues as a misfortone. 
As to the objection, that the study of English would put an 
end to all native composition and indigenous literature j we 
would simply inquire, if there is in the world a less edifying 
and more barren literature than that of Hindoostan, or one 
that has done less for morality, philosophy, and science ? 

With reference to that imitation of English writers, which 
Mr. Tytler assumes would beset native "students, that gen- 
tleman quotes with complacency a saying of Johnson, " That 
no man was ever great by imitation," and amplifies the apoph- 
thegm so as to comprehend masses of men ; as if the saying 
stood, that no people ever became great by imitation. The 
saying thus applied, becomes an untenable sophism ; for, on 
reflection, we shall find that the converse of the position 
holds true; since civilisation itself is nothing else but a com- 
plex system of imitation. 


We beg now to call your Lordship's attention to the opi- 
nions of the Rev. Mr. Duff. In reply to the question, whe- 
ther, in order to teach the principles of any science to native 
boys, he considered it necessary that they should know San- 
scrit, Arabic, and Persian ? the reverend gentleman replies, 
that, " In reference to the acquisition of European science, 
the study of the languages mentioned would be a sheer waste 
of labour and time ; since, viewed as a media for receiving and 
treasuring the stores of modern science, there is, at present, 
no possible connection between them." On the other hand, 
in reply to the question, if he thought it possible to teach 
native boys the principles of any science through the medium 
of the English language ? He replied, that, " The experience 
of the last three years has, if possible, confirmed the con- 
viction he previously entertained, not merely that it is pos- 
sible to teach native boys the principles of any science 
through the medium of the English language, but that, in the 
present incipient state of native improvement, it is next to 
impossible to teach them successfully the principles of any 
science through any other medium than the English." He 
further records his opinion, that the study of the English 
language might be rendered very popular among the natives. 
" The sole reason," he justly observes, " why the English is 
not now more a general and anxious object of acquisition 
among the natives, is the degree of uncertainty under which 
they (the natives) still labour as to the ultimate intentions of 
Government, and whether it will ever lead them into paths 
of usefulness, profit, or honour; only let the intentions of 
Government be officially announced, and there will be a 
general movement among all the more respectable* classes." 
But the teaching of English acquires much importance, when 
we consider it, with Mr. Duff, as the grand remedy for 
obviating the prejudices of the natives against practical ana- 
tomy. " The English language," he urges (Mr. Duffs replies, 
p. 32.), " opens up a whole world of new ideas, and examples. 


of success in every department of science ; and the ideas so 
true, and the examples so striking, work mightily on the 
susceptible minds of native youth ; so that by the time they 
have acquired a mastery over the English language, under 
judicious and enlightened instructors, their minds are almost 
metamorphosed into the texture and cast of European youth, 
and they cannot help expressing their utter contempt for 
Hindoo .superstition and prejudices." 

There is an argument of fact put in by Mr. Duff, which 
is admirably to the point. We allude to the introduction of 
the English language and of English science among the 
Scottish Highlanders, whose native language, to this day, is 
the Gaelic. The parallel is a very fair one ; for no people were 
more superstitious, more wedded to their own 'customs, 
and more averse to leaving their native country, than the 
Highlanders : but since the introduction of the English lan- 
guage among them, the state of things is much changed. The 
same observation applies to Ireland and Wales, where, as in 
the Highlands of Scotland, the English is a foreign language ; 
ant! yet its acquisition is eagerly sought after by the natives 
of all these countries, as an almost certain passport to em- 
ployment. There are medical men, natives of these coun- 
tries, scattered all over the world, whose mother tongue is 
Welsh, Irish, or Gaelic, which, as children, they spoke for 
years just as the children of European parents in India 
speak Hindoostuncc and Bengalee ; with this difference, how- 
ever, that the latter soon forget the Oriental tongues j while 
theyouth who acquire the indigenous language of Ireland, the 
Scottish Highlands, and Wales, never lose the language of 
those countries, because they do not quit them till a more ad- 
vanced pcriotl of life. For the first years of youth the High- 
landers at school, even of all ranks, think in the Gaelic ; but 
this does not prevent their acquiring such a fluent and busi- 
ness-like knowledge of English, as to enable them to pass 
through life with credit, and not unfrequently with distinc- 

L 2 



tion, What is there in the condition, physical or moral, of 
the natives of this country, that should render them inca- 
pable of acquiring English as easily as the Irish, the High- 
landers, and Welsh ? 

(Signed) J, GRANT, - - - - President.